UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] Friday praised [press release] the United Kingdom's recent ratification of a treaty designed to extend legal safeguards to UN and humanitarian personnel participating in relief efforts. With the UK's formal approval of the instrument last month, the minimum threshold of 22 signatories [text, PDF] to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel [text, PDF] is met, allowing it to enter into effect. The Protocol is scheduled to become operational August 19, 30 days after [press release] ratification by the UK.
Drafted in 2005, the Protocol represents an extension of the 1994 Convention [text] that afforded legal protection only to those involved in peacekeeping operations. By eliminating the need for a 'declaration of exceptional risk,' the Protocol affords the same protections to a broader range of personnel, including those engaged in humanitarian or developmental efforts as part of peacebuilding campaigns.