13 October 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General’s Message to Honour Peacekeepers Who Died

in Crash of United Nations Aircraft in Haiti


This is the text of a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon read in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, today by his Special Representative, Hédi Annabi, in honour of the victims of the crash of flight UNO-146:

On behalf of the entire United Nations system, I extend my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the peacekeepers whose lives we honour and whose service we will forever cherish.

Words provide little comfort, but their deeds speak eloquently.  I have seen with my own eyes the remarkable progress that Haiti has made thanks to the efforts of our peacekeepers.  Those we remember today were patrolling from the skies, but they could see something farther on the horizon:  a brighter and more hopeful future for all the people of Haiti.

They were the proud sons of Jordan and Uruguay.  But we can also claim them as our own.  They ventured far from home to serve the shared values that bind us together as a human family.  They were here in Haiti protecting the country’s borders.  They were here providing relief to the victims of last year’s terrible storms and hurricanes.  They were here helping the people of Haiti fulfil the enormous promise of their proud nation.

This tragedy reminds us that even where there is no open conflict, peacekeeping is fraught with unforeseeable risks.  We must honour their memory by striving to maintain the highest standards of safety and security, even as we understand that tragedy can strike despite our best precautions.

To the Governments of Uruguay and Jordan, I thank you for your commitment to the enduring values and mission of the United Nations.  To the men and women of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) who forge ahead in this hour of grief, we stand with you and offer our profound gratitude for your service and commitment.

Dag Hammarskjöld, the former UN Secretary-General and founding father of UN peacekeeping, once said:  “We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny.  But what we put into it is ours.”

These 11 brave men put everything into a painting a picture of a rising Haiti, more secure, more hopeful, more strong.  Together, let us resolve to complete that picture in their name.

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For information media • not an official record