Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Statement on the death toll of the Algiers bombing

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Dili (Timor-Leste), 14 December 2007

I have learned with profound sadness that the death toll on the bombing in Algiers on Tuesday is even higher than we feared. Seventeen United Nations colleagues are now confirmed dead. A devastatingly high number of innocent Algerians have also perished, as well as nationals from other countries. Words cannot begin to do justice to the grief I feel.

I send my prayers to the loved ones of those who perished, to those who are wounded and to those who are grappling with trauma after this terrible event. I send my thoughts to all their colleagues who work every day, in difficult and dangerous circumstances, for peace and security, development and human rights around the world. And I stand with the people of Algeria and the wider region in the face of the scourge of terrorism.

Those who target innocent civilians in this way commit an unspeakable crime. Terrorism is never justifiable, on any grounds, as all 192 United Nations Member States agreed last year when they came together to adopt the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It hurts all nations -- large and small, rich and poor. It takes its toll on human beings of every age and income, culture and religion.

I will spare no effort in ensuring that the United Nations provides adequate security for its staff, wherever they serve. I will look at all possible ways, with all parts of the system, and with Member States, to ensure that this is done.

This was an attack not only against the United Nations, not only against Algerians, but against humankind itself. Our colleagues there were working with no other mission than to support the people of Algeria in building a better future. I have asked that, on Monday at 10 a.m. New York time, all United Nations staff worldwide honour them by observing a minute of silence.