Baghdad Bomb, the UN and Humanitarian Action: Lucky To Be Alive

The bombing of the United Nations mission in Baghdad that killed Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and more than twenty others on August 19 was the most deadly attack ever against the organisation. It was also a horrendous experience for me.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Gil Loescher

Senior Fellow, Forced Displacement and International Security, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London

I had just arrived in Baghdad that morning with Arthur Helton of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. We were there to assess the human cost of the war and occupation and were planning to report our findings and recommendations to the UN, the Coalition Provisional Authority and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Both of us were experts on refugees and humanitarian issues and had travelled to far-flung parts of the world for decades to do field work and to meet others who cared passionately about refugees and other vulnerable peoples. This time, however, things would be different.

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