Secretary-General Calls on Global Community to Keep Obligations to End Terrorism, Support Victims, in Remarks at Screening of Film ‘Killing in the Name’

11 October 2010

Secretary-General Calls on Global Community to Keep Obligations to End Terrorism, Support Victims, in Remarks at Screening of Film ‘Killing in the Name’

11 October 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Calls on Global Community to Keep Obligations to End Terrorism,

Support Victims, in Remarks at Screening of Film ‘Killing in the Name’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a screening of the film Killing in the Name, in New York, 8 October:

I am delighted to welcome you to this discussion tonight.

Over the past decade, countless people around the world have suffered loss and injury from terrorism.

That is the toll we know.

The toll we don’t typically hear much about is the continuing impact the day after, and the day after that.

All too often, the voices of the terrorists have drowned out the voices of the victims.

Now, I am glad to say, that is changing.

Two years ago, I convened the first-ever international Symposium on Supporting Victims of Terrorism at the United Nations.

We opened our doors to victims of terrorism, gave them a platform and initiated a dialogue on how to best support their needs.

Much has been done since.

I would like to acknowledge in particular the work of the Governments of Spain, Jordan, Indonesia and the United Kingdom.  They have addressed the needs of their own people, in their own countries.  But they have also provided exemplary leadership to ensure that United Nations staff deployed in regions where we have become targets are protected and supported in case of an attack.

The survivors who stand in front of you today are themselves an exemplary group.

They were with us two years ago at the Symposium, and they are here again today to tell their stories, to bear witness to the appalling costs of terrorism and to push us all to do more to put an end to actions that cannot be justified by any end, in any form, in any place, for any reason, ever.

As hard as it is to re-live their stories and expose their pain, they are not afraid to do so if it means helping others to avoid a similar fate.  We all have a lot to learn from them.

[To panelists:]  We are humbled by you, your courage and your dignity.  Your voices elevate all of us and inspire all of us to band together as a global community against a global menace.

The powerful movie we have seen tonight shows not only what happened to Ashraf Al-Khaled, but how he transformed his personal horror into a mission of change.

Carie Lemack, who lost her mother during the attacks on the World Trade Center, has given us a deeply moving portrait that shows the power of media to generate action across continents, ethnicities and religions.

Carla Khammar is one of our very own.  She survived the attack on the UN compound in Algiers in 2007 — but not without trauma and suffering.  And she continues to speak on behalf of the brave and dedicated staff the UN deploys every day to global hotspots and front lines.

The United Nations family has lost too many men and women to terrorist attacks.

I walked among the rubble in Algiers.

I stood with World Food Programme staff and their families as we commemorated their loss in Islamabad.

I have been to Baghdad and Kabul, and met with dedicated UN staff members who have paid a high price for their service in these and other locations.

I was here in New York on September 11th, 2001.  I witnessed the destruction, pain and suffering in our host city.

But even though we weep each time, we must also wipe away our tears and maintain our focus — on our efforts to put an end to this suffering and our work to rid the world of this scourge.  We must each — whether Government, international civil servant or individual citizen — uphold our obligations to the victims.

Four years ago, when the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Member States pledged to “promote international solidarity in support of victims”.  And they committed themselves to fostering a “global campaign against terrorism and for its condemnation”.

Tonight’s event refreshes our commitment to that mission — a mission that is very dear and personal to me.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.