New York

14 November 2012

Secretary-General's remarks at Memorial for Fallen Staff

I welcome UN duty stations and missions joining us by video or webcast.

I want to pay a special tribute to the representatives of the staff union for their constant vigilance and support for the women and men serving the United Nations.

Thank you one and all for being here. 

Last year, we began a solemn tradition. 

We agreed to come together for an annual commemorative event in New York to honour United Nations personnel who lost their lives over the preceding year. 

Today we salute 29 fallen colleagues – civilian, military and police – across 11 duty stations.  These colleagues represent 16 nationalities.
In their names and backgrounds – we see the story of the United Nations. 

People from all corners of the world … many from humble circumstances … serving far from home. 

Some came from places once mired in conflict – and they were determined to bring a measure of peace to others.
We recall the privilege of working with our fallen colleagues.

We take pride in the pride they took working for the United Nations.

We grieve with their families and friends while we honour the difference each in their own made to our work and to our world.
Please join me in a moment of silence for our cherished colleagues and friends.

[Pause for one minute moment of silence]

Thank you.

My fervent wish is that an event like this would never be necessary – that all our staff could do their job without facing any risks to their lives.
Yet we know that United Nations peacekeepers and all personnel are increasingly exposed to high risk environments.
We continue to focus on enhancing staff security.

And we continue to call on Governments to uphold their responsibility to provide security – and prosecute those who target and attack UN staff.
Today is yet another reminder of the dangers and vulnerabilities of those serving around the world to promote the universal goals of the United Nations Charter.

And it is also a moment to take strength and resolve to carry forward the work for which our fallen colleagues gave everything.
Let us stand united in upholding their commitment to our global mission.

A passion for peace, and compassion for people – that is what drives us each day.

Let us resolve to continue that vital work in the name and the memory of all those we honour today.

May they rest in peace and eternity as we carry on their vital mission.

Thank you very much.