"A piece of me died that day"


"I think the memories are right there…it does not matter all the years that have gone by and the good life we have had. I still say that a piece of me died that day in the rubble. My innocence; my youth; the love of my life."

The United Nations flag that was recovered from the debris of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that was bombed on 19 August 2003.  © UN Photo/Mark GartenLaura Dolci, a staff member at the UN Human Rights Office, spoke candidly about the loss of her husband Jean-Sélim Kanaan. He was one of 22 people who died when the United Nations building in Baghdad was bombed in 2003.

The lives of those lost in that bombing, along with the deaths of other humanitarian workers, is recognised during World Humanitarian Day. The day is a chance for UN staff and others working in the humanitarian field, to remember and celebrate the lives of those lost in conflict trying to better the world they lived in, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

"Despite the risk, they stepped forward and put their many and various talents at the service of others – to give help, and a voice, to people who are abused and robbed of justice. They went out to right those wrongs," he said.

And, it is a time to strengthen the collective will to continue to push for humanitarian and human rights cause, he added.

"Our cause has suffered many tragedies over the past 15 years," Zeid said. "Many other outrageous attacks have deliberately targeted – and murdered, or wounded – humanitarian workers, and UN staffers who were striving to promote and protect human rights. But we are determined to continue this essential work, even in the face of threats and danger, because human equality and human dignity matter."

16 August 2018

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