ISLAMABAD: The United Nations plans to temporarily relocate some of its international staff outside of Pakistan for security reasons following attacks that have killed at least 11 personnel in the country this year, a spokeswoman said today.
Around 20 per cent of UN expatriate workers will either leave the country for six months or be relocated to safer areas within Pakistan, said UN spokeswoman Ishrat Rizvi. The world body will re-evaluate the security situation in six months to determine when the staff can return. “We will review programmes and projects and we will see whether we need to bring back those international staff members and which programmes are to resume,” Rizvi said. She declined to specify how many international employees work for the UN in the country or will be affected by the decision.
As Islamic militant violence has escalated in Pakistan, the UN has suffered a string of attacks this year, including a bombing in October targetting the World Food Programme’s office in Islamabad that killed five people. The UN has worked with the Pakistani government to determine how to realign its programmes to focus on more urgent needs because of the security situation, said Rizvi.
“We are focusing on programmes and needs according to the government’s priorities,” she said.