World Must Stand with Humanitarians, Secretary-General Stresses at Baghdad Bombing Memorial Wreath-Laying, Urging Protection for Those Carrying out Lifesaving Work

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks, as delivered by Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, at the wreath-laying at the Baghdad bombing memorial, today in New York:

It’s an honour to join you today on behalf of the Secretary-General.

Today is World Humanitarian Day.  The date was chosen because of what happened in Baghdad 19 years ago.  Twenty-two humanitarians were killed in a cowardly bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad.

This memorial is an eternal tribute to the women and men who were lost that day.

It is also a precious reminder of the essential nature of humanitarian work.  It is vital.  And it symbolizes the brave humanitarians who, as we gather today, are carrying out a vital mission — supporting the lives of people trapped within the chaos of conflict and emergencies.  They are committed to the essence of the United Nations Charter:  peace.

Yet, as this memorial reminds us, humanitarians often risk their lives to assist the most vulnerable in intractable situations.  The world owes humanitarians more than our gratitude.  We owe them our own tireless efforts to ensure they are protected and supported as they carry out their lifesaving work.

The world must stand with humanitarians.  Let’s match their dedication with our own commitment to support their noble calling.  Please join me now in a moment of silence to honour those brave humanitarians killed 19 years ago.

For information media. Not an official record.