UN Foundation Board Expresses Sympathy Over Bombing of UN Headquarters in Iraq

August 19, 2003


Megan Rabbitt

The Board of Directors of the United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund offered its sympathy to the victims, families, and friends of the United Nations over the tragic losses suffered today after a truck bomb destroyed the UN headquarters in Iraq.

“We are profoundly saddened by the suffering and human lives lost in the continuing violence in Iraq, but are especially aggrieved by this shocking attack on the UN and its staff,” said Timothy E. Wirth, president of the UN Foundation and Better World Fund. “We mourn the loss of UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello who had been working tirelessly to bring relief to the Iraqi people in partnership with the U.S.-created Coalition Provisional Authority. The UN team in Iraq-led by Mr. de Mello-was providing vital humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq and aiding in reconstruction efforts,” Wirth said. “The mission of the United Nations is to help build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world and the employees of the UN who work in dangerous parts of the world every day are a reflection of that mission. We pay tribute to the memory of those we have lost today and hope for the recovery of the injured,” Wirth said.

There are 646 United Nations personnel in Iraq with about 300 UN personnel based in Baghdad. The UN Headquarters in Baghdad coordinates humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the people of Iraq per a Security Council Resolution passed in July 2003 mandating UN assistance in Iraq reconstruction efforts. UN Special Representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was charged with working with the provisional authority in Iraq to provide relief and assist in reconstruction efforts.


The United Nations Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist R.E. Turner’s historic gift to support UN causes. The United Nations Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the United Nations and its Charter. Through its grantmaking and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the United Nations Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic,and environmental challenges of the 21st century.