The United Nations on Friday marked with ceremony and other activities the third anniversary of the bombing of the UN Baghdad Headquarters, which killed 22 UN staff members and injured hundreds of others.
A formal ceremony was held by the UN staff in the General Assembly building to honor the memory of their fallen colleagues. The UN Secretariat observed a minute of silence in the course of the ceremony.
At the ceremony, Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown read a message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In his message to the staff, the Secretary-General noted that UN employees have now bravely taken the place of their fallen colleagues.
"Because we can best honor the memory of our fallen heroes by carrying forward their legacy, by continuing their work, and by seeking inspiration from their example," he said.
The UN chief said Baghdad bombing marked "the UN's loss of innocence," dealing a fatal blow to the illusion that wearing a blue helmet, or hoisting a UN flag, placed UN staff above the fray. He noted that today, more than ever, UN staff confront direct and deadly threats to their safety.
Annan pledged his utmost efforts to ensure that UN staff have the training, protection and policies they need to carry out their vital work in the service of humankind.
Similar commemoration was also held in UN agencies and organizations in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Nairobi and Vienna to mark the occasion.
On Aug. 18, 2003, the UN headquarters in Baghdad was hit by a car bomb, killing 22, including UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and Special envoy to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello.