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Memorial Ceremony at OHCHR in remembrance of those killed in the service of human rights

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

16 August 2018

My dear colleagues,

We are here to honour the memory of our 22 co-workers who 15 years ago lost their lives in the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad.

Many others were wounded; and even more will forever grieve the loss of the people they admired and loved.

I know how difficult this day is, for many of you. We are here to stand with you, and mourn with you. Together, we pay tribute to the selflessness and idealism of Sergio Vieira de Mello and his team. And we renew our determined pursuit of the work and principles we continue to share with them.

Our cause has suffered many tragedies over the past 15 years. 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.

Colleagues, I am proud to have worked among you. Your work, your commitment and courage, have given my mandate great meaning. As I transition away from my mandate

I know that despite the many obstacles we face, all of us will continue to do what is right for our fellow human beings.

I pay tribute to our fallen colleagues, and to you all.