From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] World church body condemns bombing of UN headquarters in

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Mon, 25 Aug 2003 17:36:26 -0400



World church body condemns bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad 

by Peter Kenny
Ecumenical News International 

[ENS] Geneva, 20 August (ENI)--The World Council of Churches has
expressed outrage and condemnation of the bombing of the United Nations
headquarters in Baghdad that killed at least 20 people, wounding and
maiming scores of others, including aid workers.

"The WCC is deeply shocked by the horrific terrorist attack on the
United Nations headquarters in Baghdad," the council's general
secretary, the Rev. Konrad Raiser, said in a letter sent on Wednesday to
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. 

Raiser strongly condemned "such unwarranted and unlawful acts that serve
no acceptable purpose" and also said the WCC mourned "the loss of lives
of the UN personnel who were in Baghdad to serve the humanitarian needs
of the people and work for restoration of the sovereignty of the people
of Iraq". 

He singled out particularly "the untimely death of Mr Sergio Vieira de
Mello", the UN's special representative in Iraq who Raiser said was "an
old friend of the World Council of Churches", which is the world's
largest grouping of churches. 

Action by Churches Together (ACT), a worldwide network of churches and
related agencies meeting human needs, based at WCC headquarters in
Geneva, said that some of the people wounded in the blast had belonged
to organizations it supports involved in mine clearance programmes,
funded by DanChurchAid and other ACT partners. 

Martin Barber, head of the UN mine action programme, had been speaking
to a small gathering of journalists at the UN headquarters in Baghdad
when the room darkened at the sound of a massive explosion. Later,
television showed a grim scene of dust and people with bloodied faces. 

"The huge crash brought rubble all around us," said Grant Hodgson, of
The Scotsman newspaper, one of the journalists attending the press
conference. "I realised I had survived only when a mixture of coughs and
sobbing filled the air." 

Norwegian Church Aid, another ACT partner, said that one of its key
contacts in the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, Chris
Klein-Beekman, had died from injuries caused by the attack. [348 words] 

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