Speech by Mr. Claudio Cordone, United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance [EN/AR] – Iraq

Speech by Mr. Claudio Cordone, United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance [EN/AR] – Iraq





Attachments

Canal Hotel Bombing Commemoration – World Humanitarian Day – International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues, Friends,

Nineteen years ago, on 19 August 2003, just five days after UNAMI was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1500, the UN headquarters in Baghdad, known also as the Canal Hotel, was blown up in one of the first terrorist attacks in the capital. Twenty-two of our colleagues and friends were killed and more than a hundred people were injured.

A number of survivors of the Canal Hotel bombing are here with us today. Many of them continue to serve the UN here in Iraq. Despite the horrors of that day and the many catastrophes that have befallen Iraq since, these colleagues remain committed to playing a role in building a peaceful and stable future for their country. Please join me in paying special tribute to these colleagues. I am honoured to be standing here with you on this solemn occasion.

I would like to salute those who were injured in the attack of 19 August 2003 and who have joined us here today. The UN and all those committed to humanitarianism appreciate your sacrifice and your continuing commitment to a peaceful and stable Iraq.

Although the attack on the Canal Hotel targeted the humanitarian community, Iraqi society was not spared: the attack was only a prelude to the terror that would engulf Iraq and claim countless victims in the following years. Today, we observe World Humanitarian Day, and pay tribute to all victims of terrorism.

In Iraq, as well as in other parts of the globe, we continue to witness threats and assaults against civilians, humanitarian workers, healthcare professionals, civil society actors, the staff of international organisations, and countless brave women and men who put themselves in danger to assist communities affected by conflict and disasters.

So it was a befitting tribute that the General Assembly designated 19 August, the day of the Canal Hotel bombing, as World Humanitarian Day, to honour humanitarian workers who have been killed or injured in the course of their work. This year, we draw attention to community engagement and joint action. The first people to respond to crisis are communities themselves, joined by local volunteers, emergency services, local and national authorities, NGOs, UN agencies and countless others. Humanitarian action is evidence that unity and solidarity are still alive and strong. Alone, our impact is limited, but together we make a greater difference.

I joined UNAMI one week ago as the new Deputy Special Representative. However, I also had friends who were either killed or injured in that attack. The 19th of August has always been a date of reflection for me and for all of us in the United Nations and beyond. It gives me great honour as my first function in UNAMI to stand here with you today to remember the sacrifices of our twenty-two colleagues, fallen in the service of peace in Iraq. In paying tribute to them, we also commemorate and honour all those who lost their lives serving humanity, and all victims of terrorism. Our continuing commitment to peace and justice is their legacy and our inspiration.

Thank you.

Speech by
Claudio Cordone
UNAMI
Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance




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