The ICJ expresses its profound sorrow at the death of the UN Representative in Iraq and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and all of his colleagues and other civilians killed yesterday in Baghdad.
The ICJ offers its condolences to the families of all of the victims of the bomb blast at the Canal Hotel and its best wishes for recovery for the injured.
The High Commissioner had been a genuine fighter for the right of all human beings to live in dignity. It is particularly galling that he and his associates should become a target of those who indiscriminately seek to deny that right to others.
The bombing constitutes an odious criminal act. The United Nations personnel in Iraq do not play a military role in the country, nor do they exercise political power. Their mission has been to provide humanitarian and human rights advice and services to the people of Iraq.
The ICJ pays tribute to the members of international organisations and civil society who undertake international public service in highly risky circumstances. The ICJ hopes that despite the recent tragedy the United Nations and other organisations working for the well being of humanity will continue to perform their vital functions in defence of human dignity.
Iraq-attack UN Headquarters-press release-2003 (text, PDF)