UN chief honors employees who died on duty — Global Issues

“We are united in grief and solidarity,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, comforting relatives and loved ones, as he attended the memorial gathering from around the world, saying: “our hearts are with you”.

‘Immeasurable suffering’

For the past year, COVID-19 has continued to cause “immeasurable suffering and death,” he said.

The UN chief paid tribute to all colleagues who died during their service last year, whether from malicious acts, natural disasters or disease.

Often far from home, without fanfare, they devoted their careers to helping others — UN chief

“Together, they represent the wonderful diversity of our United Nations family,” the UN chief confirmed.

Profiling the fallen

Coming from 104 countries, 70 were military personnel, a police officer and 414 civilian workers, he said.

Their expertise and backgrounds were as diverse as the work they did at the UN Secretariat, the agencies, the funds and the programs.

“Often far from home, without fanfare, they devoted their careers to helping others,” he added.

Striving for lofty goals

“Unbent by cynicism, they worked to make a difference – however high the obstacle was; however far the reward is; it doesn’t matter, even, how difficult the challenge,” he said.

They worked to secure peace in forgotten places; fed the hungry; sheltered those who had been driven from their homes; helped protect our planet; life-saving aid provided; and fought to give children a better future.

Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at a memorial service in honor of UN personnel who lost their lives on the job, June 22, 2022., by UN Photo/Mark Garten

In short, they upheld the vision and values ​​of the United Nations, the Secretary-General said. “We mourn their passing and cherish their memories.”

After a moment of silent reflection on their lives and service, he spoke of a world in turmoil, “scarred by conflict, threatened by crises and overwhelmed by emergencies”.

Hoping to join forces and work together “as one international community”, Mr Guterres recalled that the UN is both “the instrument and the expression of that community”.

“It is the colleagues we honor today who embodied that promise and brought that hope to life,” he said.

Dedication and Support

The Secretary-General pledged UN support to the families of the fallen and to review and improve the safety, care and welfare of staff.

“We pledge to continue with the same dedication and courage that defined their work,” he said.

“Our colleagues lost their lives, but their spirit of helping others lives on – today and every day,” the UN chief said, adding that their memory may be “a blessing and an inspiration to all of us.”

A ceremony in Bangui commemorates five UN peacekeepers who lost their lives last year while working in the Central African Republic.

MINUSCA/Leonel Grothe

A ceremony in Bangui commemorates five UN peacekeepers who lost their lives last year while working in the Central African Republic.

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