The International Federation of Social Workers is deeply shocked and saddened that the United Nations has been the direct target of a terrorist attack. The attack is a challenge to the very idea of a world body whose goal is to nurture peace and co-operation.
We mourn the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of the United Nations in Iraq and High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN has lost one of its most competent and important servants. He has through his lifetime been a peace builder and human rights advocate, touching and improving the lives of people in conflict ravaged areas around the world.
We also mourn the death of all who lost their lives in this barbarous attack, and our thoughts are with the victims and their families as well as with the United Nations in this dark hour.
Our thoughts are also with the people of Iraq, who are suffering from this severe setback to the reconstruction efforts of the international community.
But we must not let this meaningless attack influence the course for the future. We are confident that the United Nations and all constructive forces will join in renewed efforts to show those who use bombs against peace that they will not succeed.
We call on the social work profession and its representatives around the world to continue – true to its basic Human Rights values – to support the ideals and work of the United Nations, which we need more than ever to foster mutual understanding and development among the peoples and nations of this battered world.
Sydney/ Stockholm/ Berne, 20 August 2003
International Federation of Social Workers
Imelda Dodds, IFSW President
Elis Envall, IFSW Human Rights Commissioner
Tom Johannesen, IFSW Secretary General