UN Human Rights colleagues honoured and remembered

Eight years ago, on 19 August 2003, the UN office in Baghdad  was bombed: 22 UN staff members died, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was at that time the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq. More than 150 people were wounded.

The acting head of the UN Human Rights Office lays flowers at a memorial plaque © OHCHR photoTo remember those who died while serving the UN and the cause of human rights, the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva held a small ceremony today, 19 August.

 “Let us never forget that many of our colleagues in the field confront real danger to life and health on a daily basis,” said Anders Kompass, acting head of the UN Human Rights Office.

Addressing family members, survivors, and colleagues of those who have died in the line of duty, Kompass said that the commitment and sacrifice of our field colleagues “should be remembered daily.”

After a minute of silence, bouquets of flowers were laid at a memorial plaque outside the Office.

"In Memoriam", special music composed for this occasion by a UN human rights staff member, was played on a violoncello at the beginning and end of the ceremony.

To honour those who lost their lives while serving in humanitarian operations, 19 August was proclaimed by the UN as World Humanitarian Day.

In memory of

Saad Hermiz Abona, Reham Al-Farra, Emaad Ahmed Salman Al-Jobory,
Raid Shaker Mustafa Al-Mahdawi,Omar Kahtan Mohamed Al-Orfali,
Leen Assad Al-Quadi, Ranilo Buenaventura, Sastra Chim Chan, Gilian Clark,
Joakim Dungel, Manuel Martín-Oar Fernandez-Heredia, Arthur Helton,
Rick Hooper, Reza Hosseini, Ihssan Taha Husain, Jean-Sélim Kanaan,
Christopher Klein-Beekman, Jean Bosco, Munyaneza, Agrippin Ngabo,
Aimable Nsengiyumvu, Khidir Saleem Sahir, Alya Ahmad Sousa,
Martha Teas, GrahamTurnbull, Basim Mahmood Utaiwi,
Sergio Vieira De Mello, Fiona Watson, Nadia Younes
and other United Nations staff members who died in the service of human rights.

19 August 2011