It has been 15 years since the terrorist attack on the UN compound at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad: “the darkest day in our lives at the United Nations”, in the words of the Secretary-General at the time, Kofi Annan.
The truck bomb killed 22 international and local staff, including the top UN representative in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Current and former staff who survived the blast on 19 August 2003 have been reflecting on the tragedy, which marked the first time the UN was deliberately targeted on a massive scale.
Andrew Clapham, a law professor in Geneva, had only been in Baghdad for a few weeks, serving as an academic adviser to Mr. Vieira de Mello.
He was attending a meeting at the UN compound when the attack occurred. His wife, Mona Rishmawi, the UN envoy’s human rights and gender adviser, was also on the premises at that time.
This personal account is the first of five audio testimonials that UN News will be publishing with UN staff members who were there that day. They bear witness to what they saw and explain how surviving the attack changed their lives. Watch for more testimonials beginning on Monday.
For full coverage, go to our special multimedia story here.