Brussels, 20 August 2003 - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is shocked and saddened by the deaths of a large number of Iraqi and international staff in yesterday's brutal attack on the United Nations office in Baghdad. We extend our deepest condolences to those who have lost relatives and friends. For the many people who were injured, MSF hopes for a speedy and complete recovery.
The assault is a horrifying illustration of the grim reality of Iraq, in which lives are lost every day. The atmosphere of violence seriously limits the possibilities for humanitarian organizations to assist the Iraqi population.
In particular, MSF mourns the loss of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Many of our staff has met with him in the field and we have come to know him as an advocate for humanitarian action in the service of populations who need such assistance urgently. Vieira de Mello's death touches the very heart of the humanitarian community, inside the United Nations and elsewhere.