The bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad which resulted in the death of UN Special Representative to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, and nearly a score of other UN staff was condemned as a “senseless” act by Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director.
“This senseless act of violence must be condemned not only for the death and destruction it has brought about but also because of the damage it does to the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people themselves,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka.
Recalling that her colleague had served in some of the most dangerous places in Africa, Kosovo, and East Timor helping bring peace against all the odds, she added: “ In losing Mr. Vieira de Mello, the Iraqi people have lost a friend and the world has lost a champion of justice and freedom. The only way we can pay tribute to the man, is to continue the UN mission to establish peace and prosperity in Iraq.”
With a large team of international staff, every day since 1997, UN-HABITAT has helped provide over 20,000 new homes, more than 600 schools, over 100 health centres, more than 500 kilometres of water and sewage systems, nearly 3,000 kilometres of new roads. Managing a US$600 million budget, UN-HABITAT has conducted the reconstruction projects under the former Oil-for-Food programme.
Today, with its well established operational network, the organization is providing an immediate operational response to the post-war emergency situation and building foundations for the longer term needs of the people. UN-HABITAT’s offices in Baghdad are situated about 10 kilometres away from the main UN headquarters where Mr. Vieira de Mello was killed.