28 January 2010
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12723
PKO/231

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

Secretary-General Praises ‘Extraordinary Courage and Dedication’ of Staff,


in Message to Memorial Service for Haiti Mission’s Earthquake Dead


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the memorial service for staff of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), delivered by Edmond Mulet, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, in Port-au-Prince today, 28 January:


Dear colleagues, friends,


I know there is little I can say to give you comfort on this sad day.  The United Nations was born in suffering.  You have seen the people of Haiti bear far, far more than their fair share of life’s injustice.  And you are suffering with them.


We have lost so many colleagues, so many dear friends.  We have lost children, husbands, wives and fiancés.  Even now, we have yet to find them all.


You have shown extraordinary courage and dedication in the face of such tragedy.  You, yourselves, lost loved ones.  Yet your thoughts were with those who could yet be saved.  In the face of such terrible adversity, you showed your humanity and your strength.


Being with you last week was humbling.  Returning with the bodies of Hédi Annabi and Luiz Carlos da Costa was one of the saddest moments of my life, yet also one of the most privileged.  I told you how proud I was, of you and our UN, and I meant it, with a full heart.  I am sorry not to be with you today.  Soon, when we have recovered all our dead, we will read the honour roll of their names, one by one, at a memorial like this in New York.


Please know this: your efforts are the most sincere and eloquent memorial to those who gave their lives for this mission.  To you, I say: we are with you in spirit.  To those no longer with us, I say: we will never forget you.


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For information media • not an official record