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Confirmation of the death of the UN’s Haiti leadership – Hedi Annabi, Luiz Carlos da Costa and Doug Coates

This (below) from the United Nations Secretary General today. Losing its civilian leadership is an enormous blow to the mission and the UN system as a whole. Amid Haiti’s unimaginable pain, the United Nations’ own tragedy is already on the level of the traumatic 2003 Baghdad bombing; it seems there will be many more names to relate before the crisis is over. Of those UN officials that survived, many have left the country. The mission will need to rebuild its staff from the ground up.

This will be a huge undertaking. Haiti is on its knees; absolutely dependent upon international assistance. The long-term implications are potentially staggering; millions may need to be fed and sheltered for weeks and months to come, with almost no domestic capacity to do so.

A $562 million appeal launched this week “is intended to assist an estimated 3 million affected people over a period of six months, with half of the funds being earmarked for emergency food aid, with the rest targeted at health, water, sanitation, nutrition, early recovery, emergency education and other key needs.” Depending on how the situation develops, it seems possible the UN’s mandate in Haiti will need to be revisited, potentially expanded. Assuming the country’s weak government has been affected as much as the rest of the country, the UN may be facing one of the most challenging tasks in its 65 year history.


Statement of confirmation of death of Special Representative of the
Secretary-General in Haiti, Hédi Annabi,
Principal Deputy Special Representative, Luiz Carlos da Costa,
and Acting UN Police Commissioner in Haiti, Doug Coates

I am deeply saddened to confirm the tragic death of my Special
Representative to Haiti, Hédi Annabi. His Deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa
and the Acting Police Commissioner, Doug Coates of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, are also confirmed to have perished.

In every sense of the word, they gave their lives for peace.

Hédi Annabi, a Tunisian national, was a true citizen of the world. The
United Nations was his life and he ranked amongst its most dedicated and
committed sons. He was passionate about its mission and its people. He
gave of himself fully — with energy, discipline and great bravery. From
his start as a desk officer for Cambodia to his involvement in literally
every peacekeeping operation the UN launched for over a decade, he was
the gold standard of service against which all who had the privilege to
work with him were measured.

An icon of UN peacekeeping, there was no better representative of the
international civil service. A mild man with the heart of a lion, he is
remembered by those who knew him for his dry sense of humour, his
integrity and his unparalleled work ethic—he was the first in and the
last out every day for his entire career.

He was proud of the UN mission in Haiti — proud of its accomplishments
in bringing stability and hope to Haiti’s people, proud of his UN staff.

Luiz Carlos da Costa, from Brazil, was for many, many years a legend of
UN peacekeeping operations. His extraordinary professionalism and
dedication were matched only by his charisma and warmth, and his
devotion to his many friends.
Over decades, he brought many of the finest and most talented staff to
the United Nations. He was a mentor to generations of UN staff. He knew
them; he knew their families; and his heart was always open to hear
their story and to help them. His legacy lives in the thousands that
serve under the blue flag in every corner of the globe.

Doug Coates was a long-serving member of the international law
enforcement community. He was a true friend of Haiti and the United
Nations. He was a great police officer who believed to his core in the
importance of rule of law and justice.

Our hearts are with them, the families and friends of Hédi, Luiz, Doug
and the many other UN heroes who gave their lives for Haiti and for the
highest ideals of the United Nations. Their dearest wish, I am sure,
would be that we carry forward the noble work that they and their
colleagues performed so well.