Three officials of the United Nations have been confirmed dead in the Haiti earthquake.
A statement issued in Accra on Monday by the United Nations Information Centre, said the deceased were the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti, Hédi Annabi, Principal Deputy Special Representative, Luiz Carlos da Costa and Acting UN Police Commissioner in Haiti, Doug Coates of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “the three UN officials are confirmed to have perished. In every sense of the word, they gave their lives for peace”.
He said Hédi, a Tunisian, was a true citizen of the world. “The United Nations was his life and he ranked amongst its most dedicated and committed sons. He was passionate about its mission and its people. He gave of himself fully — with energy, discipline and great bravery”.
“From his start as a desk officer for Cambodia to his involvement in literally every peacekeeping operation the UN launched for over a decade, he was the gold standard of service against which all who had the privilege to work with him were measured”.
“An icon of UN peacekeeping, there was no better representative of the international civil service. A mild man with the heart of a lion, he is remembered by those who knew him for his dry sense of humour, his integrity and his unparalleled work ethic—he was the first in and the last out every day for his entire career.
“He was proud of the UN mission in Haiti — proud of its accomplishments in bringing stability and hope to Haiti’s people, proud of his UN staff,” he said.
Secretary-General Ban said da Costa, from Brazil, was for many, many years a legend of UN peacekeeping operations.
“His extraordinary professionalism and dedication were matched only by his charisma and warmth, and his devotion to his many friends. Over decades, he brought many of the finest and most talented staff to the United Nations. He was a mentor to generations of UN staff”
“He knew them; he knew their families; and his heart was always open to hear their story and to help them. His legacy lives in the thousands that serve under the blue flag in every corner of the globe,” he said.
On Coates, UN Secretary-General Ban said he was a long-serving member of the international law enforcement community, a true friend of Haiti and the United Nations.
“He was a great police officer who believed to his core in the importance of rule of law and justice, “he said.
“Our hearts are with them, the families and friends of Hédi, Luiz, Doug and the many other UN heroes who gave their lives for Haiti and for the highest ideals of the United Nations. Their dearest wish, I am sure, would be that we carry forward the noble work that they and their colleagues performed so well,“ he added.
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