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World Humanitarian Day: UN should never be a target, Baghdad bombing survivors stress

13 Aug 2018


UN Photo/Timothy Sopp

On 19 August 2003, a suicide bomber drove a truck full of explosives to the United Nations headquarters in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, Iraq, and blew it up, killing 22 people – among them Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the head of the UN mission in Iraq. 

The attack was one of the most lethal in UN history, and marked a turning point in how the UN and aid groups operate in the field. It was the first time that a neutral international humanitarian organization had been deliberately targeted in such a way. 

Ahead of the anniversary, UN News spoke with some of the survivors. The conversations, which have been edited, provide insight into what happened that day, how it impacted them, and continues to impact the entire community that makes up the United Nations.

Read their stories and listen to their testimonies here