Secretary-General's remarks at 4th anniversary commemoration of UN House terror attack

Aug 26, 2015

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon honours victims of terror attack on UN House in Abuja (Photo. UNDP Nigeria/Lucky Musonda)

(Delivered in Abuja, Nigeria, 24 August 2015)

Thank you everyone for your warm welcome.  I am standing before you, unlike normal circumstances. I am very much humbled to be with you today thinking about our fallen colleagues, 23 colleagues, and many people, staff who have been injured and still are suffering from this pain and trauma. This vicious terrorist attack happened almost 4 years ago – 3 days before—August 26.

We pay tribute to the 23 fallen colleagues, women and men who were so brutally stolen from us. We reaffirm our commitment to keep faith with their families.

Our fallen colleagues and partners will be remembered this morning with moments of silence in many places.  But nowhere are the memories of these colleagues more immediate, more vivid and more compelling than here in Abuja.  We will remember them forever as truly the best of humanity. 

We join the families in prayers for the eternal rest of the souls of the departed and for long and healthy lives for the injured survivors. I am going to meet some of the colleagues who were injured this evening.

We also recognise the extraordinary fortitude and determination of the survivors, many of whom suffered terrible injury and trauma. I commend them for the courage that they continue to show in healing, and in working for a better world.

I want to thank the Government of Nigeria for its commitment to rebuild the UN House as a symbol of the resilience of our extraordinary cooperation.

I want to thank all staff for your patience working in many places throughout the country, the city – with all the pressures and inconveniences that it has caused.

The terrorists attacked the United Nations and destroyed many lives of many colleagues. 

But we have a mandate to build.  To better the lives of people in need. To conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy.  To promote respect for people’s rights, human rights,  and freedoms.

This is a vital time in the history of Nigeria.  I am here to extend my full support to your work and to encourage the government of Nigeria to continue along the pathway of reform. 

Later today, I will meet His Excellency President Buhari and will express my strong encouragement and solidarity for his efforts to tackle insecurity, unemployment and corruption. 

We are at a vital moment in our work to promote the sustainable development agenda and build a life of dignity for all.

Last month, the international community agreed on a framework for financing sustainable development in Addis Ababa.

This month, Member States negotiators finalized the blueprint for an sustainable development agenda aiming to 2030, including through a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted by world leaders next month – when President Buhari will participate.  

In December, world leaders will also have a very important moment, opportunity to adopt an ambitious, universal and  meaningful climate change agreement. 

Taken together, this is our chance to take the values and mandate given to us by the UN Charter 70 years ago, and renew it for the 21st century.

To do so, we must do our utmost to be fit for purpose - and deliver for the people who are looking to us for assistance and support. 

I know you are working hard.  I ask you to work even harder.  You are the face of the United Nations.  We are living in a period of frugality. I am asking you to do more with less, I am sorry to say so as Secretary-General. But be proud of your work, your mission—you are working for humanity.  

And, working together, let us honour our fallen colleagues in the best way possible – by working together to build a better future for the people of Nigeria and people of the world. That’s our mission and let us recommit ourselves, while celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, to make this world better for all, where nobody will be left behind.

Thank you for your strong commitment.

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