12 January 2011

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

Secretary-General, in Message to Haiti Commemoration, Says World Must Fulfil

Promises of Stable, Prosperous Future Made after Earthquake Tragedy


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, delivered by Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, in Port-au-Prince on 12 January:

With hearts still grieving, we gather to remember the victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti one year ago today.  We gather in solidarity with the people of Haiti, with one another, with all who lost daughters or sons, fathers or mothers on that tragic day.

The calamity was felt by the entire world, and the entire world has mourned with Haiti and with the United Nations family for enduring its single biggest loss of life in a peacekeeping mission.  To the families and loved ones of our 102 fallen colleagues, to all who suffered injuries, physical and emotional, we express our deepest sympathies.

As we honour the dead, we also honour the living.  I want to pay particular tribute to the courageous United Nations personnel who survived and remained in Haiti after the earthquake.  Your dedication was vital in ensuring that in those first terrible hours we were able to deliver life-saving support to the injured and consolation to those who needed comfort in the face of such tremendous misery, trauma and loss.

I salute the staff throughout the world who responded immediately to the call for volunteers.  This helped the Mission [United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)] to rebuild and maintain its support for the Haitian authorities. A very special word of thanks goes to my Special Representative, Edmond Mulet, who has shown exemplary determination in getting the Mission back on track.

I thank the many countries that have provided aid so quickly and so generously.  Yet one year later, too many Haitians still live in dire and unacceptable conditions.  The world must live up to the promises made in the wake of the earthquake; we must redouble our efforts to help Haitibuild a more stable and prosperous future for the country’s children.

In memory of our fallen comrades, let us pledge to follow their dream of a better Haiti.  Let us celebrate their lives and contributions to Haiti and to the world.  They paid the highest price for their commitment to a noble cause, and the United Nations is eternally grateful to them.  May they rest in peace.  May we carry on their journey.

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For information media • not an official record