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20 years on: UN commemorates two decades since Baghdad HQ bombing

20 years on: UN commemorates two decades since Baghdad HQ bombing

United Nations: The United Nations has observed the 20th anniversary of the 2003 suicide bombing of its headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 22 UN personnel of the world body, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Representative in Iraq.

During a brief ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, Atul Khare, the UN Undersecretary-General for the Department of Operational Support, placed a wreath before a memorial plaque dedicated to the 2003 bombing, as reported by Xinhua news agency.

The bombing took place on August 19, 2003, in the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which was used by the UN as its headquarters in Iraq. Besides killing 22 people, the bombing also injured more than 100 others.

The UN General Assembly in 2008 designated the date of the Baghdad bombing as World Humanitarian Day.

In a video message for World Humanitarian Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the tragedy 20 years ago marked a change in the way humanitarians operate.

Today, although humanitarians are respected around the world, they may also be targeted by those who would do them harm, he said.

"On this World Humanitarian Day, we salute the courage and dedication of humanitarian aid workers everywhere. We reaffirm our full support for their determined and life-saving efforts across the world. We celebrate their unwavering dedication to serve all people in need -- no matter who, no matter where, no matter what," Guterres said.

With inputs from agencies

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TAGS:IraqUnited NationsBaghdad headquartersBombing
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