UN marks 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks against United States

A view of the destruction of the World Trade Center site in 2001

9 September 2011 – The United Nations today marked the 10th anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States with a solemn commemoration in the General Assembly Hall, music, poetry and a vow to intensify the battle against terror wherever it is perpetrated in the world.

“11 September will mark our collective memory forever. We all remember what we were doing when we heard what was happening. Our shock and disbelief at this horror are indescribable,” Assembly President Joseph Deiss said in an opening speech.

“We also want to be here to express our compassion and solidarity for all the victims of terrorist acts who are attacked randomly and without respite throughout the world. We are here to express our indignation at the cowardice of terrorism, condemn it firmly and categorically, combat it and see that the guilty are punished.”

Mr. Deiss stressed that global action is crucial in responding to international terrorism, which he called an “intolerable violation” of the purposes and principles of the UN and its ideals of peace, security and friendship among peoples.

“Given the proliferation of terrorist threats and actions, we must intensify our efforts without delay,” he declared. “It is urgent that we adopt the necessary complements to the existing instruments.”

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said “the attacks targeted more than one single country; they were an assault on humanity itself, and on the universal values of peace and dignity the United Nations was created to promote and defend.”

Ms. Migiro recalled that both the General Assembly and Security Council “joined their voices in a chorus” to rapidly condemn the attacks and demand justice.

Since 2001, she noted, the UN has adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the UN Alliance of Civilizations has been established to build bridges of trust and understanding between peoples and cultures, and the world body has pushed for countries to adhere to global treaties that seek to cut off funding and support for terrorists.

“At the same time, we continue our long-standing work for peace, efforts that encompass preventive diplomacy, supporting democracy and working to keep falling States from descending into chaos.”

During today’s ceremony the New York City Symphony orchestra played music and soloists Mzuri Moyo and David D’Or respectively sang Still I Rise and Amazing Grace.

Inter-faith leaders read a poem by Maya Angelou, after which they lit a candle together, followed by a minute of silence.

Separately today, in a presidential statement, the Security Council “reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”

In his own message, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that “to truly honour the memory of those who died – and the sacrifice of the brave responders who rushed to the scenes of the attacks – all people must stand against terrorism.”

He said the UN was determined to play its part “by galvanizing all countries in this necessary fight to seek justice, promote peace and build a better and more secure future for generations to come.”


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

The attacks on the US five years ago were against ‘humanity itself’: Annan

Related Stories





More videos »


In-depth Interviews