July 16th, 2009 20:21 EST
UN Staffer In Pakistan Killed
UN NEWS CENTRE
July 2009 " Secretary-General General Ban Ki-moon has led a chorus of condemnation over the shooting death of a staff member of the United Nations refugee agency at a camp outside the north-west Pakistani town of Peshawar today.
The murder of Zill-e Usman, a 59-year-old Pakistani national who had served with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1984, is the third killing of the agency`s staff in the country in the past six months.
Mr. Usman was shot by unidentified gunmen in the Kutcha Gari camp on the border of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Four to five gunmen reportedly opened fire as he was walking back from the camp administrative office to his car during a routine visit to the site.
Another staff member was injured in the incident but is in stable condition in a nearby hospital, according to UNHCR. A guard working with a government-funded agency known as the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees was also killed.
The Secretary-General strongly condemns this brutal attack on humanitarian personnel who are working for the well-being of the Pakistani people, Mr. Ban`s spokesperson said in a statement.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees AntÃ³nio Guterres voiced his outrage at the killing of Mr. Usman, who leaves behind a wife and four children.
There is no justification for attacks on humanitarian workers dedicated to the protection and care of the most vulnerable people, he said.
Mr. Usman was working on the repatriation of people displaced by a conflict in Pakistan`s tribal areas that broke out in August 2008.
UNHCR is among several agencies currently aiding some 2 million people displaced in NWFP by more recent fighting between Government forces and militants in regions surrounding the Swat Valley.
Earlier this year, Syed Hashim, a UNHCR driver, was killed in the 2 February kidnapping of John Solecki, head of the agency`s Quetta office, who was later released. Then on 9 June, staff member Aleksandar Vorkapic died in the bombing of the Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar.
Mr. Guterres called on all armed groups to cease attacks on humanitarian workers whose mission is to provide protection and assistance to the needy.
It is unacceptable that humanitarian workers doing such vital and selfless work are attacked in this way, said Mr. Guterres. We urge all armed groups to show respect for their countrymen and for innocent civilians as well as for the humanitarian workers who are providing life-saving assistance. "
Meanwhile, the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, Fikret Akcura, added his voice to those condemning the attack, which he said underscores the difficult and dangerous circumstances we are working in and the risks our staff must take on a daily basis.