6 April 2011

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

Secretary-General Says Recent Roster of UN Fallen ‘Shocking and Profoundly Sad’;


Gave Lives to Most Noble Cause — ‘Helping Those in Need, Working for Peace’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a wreath-laying ceremony in New York, 6 April:

We gather, today, to mourn our colleagues.

The roster of the fallen, in recent days, has been shocking and profoundly sad.

We stand in solidarity with their friends and families, united in sorrow, but united also in our mission.

Like those who have gone before, they gave their lives to the most noble of causes: helping those in need, working for peace.

That is our daily work and it is dangerous work.

We see that, once again, in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Haiti, Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire.

So far this year, still so young, we have lost at least 40 members of our United Nations family.

In some missions, the cause was accident or natural disaster.  Elsewhere it was murder, cold-blooded and brutal.

Today, my thoughts are with the victims and their families, with all those who serve in so many dangerous and difficult places under the flag of the United Nations.

As an organization, we are asked to take on greater and greater responsibility, at greater and greater risk.

In light of these evolving realities, I have instructed our senior managers to undertake an immediate review of our personal security needs and policies.

I will take the findings to the General Assembly and insist that those requirements be met.  Our colleagues in harm’s way deserve nothing less.

By laying this wreath we mark a passing.

Let us remember them with a moment of silence.  Let us honour them by carrying on their work.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record