Speech of Mr. Yury Fedotov, Director General of UNOV, to Commemorate the 10 th Anniversary of September 11 th

12 September 2011, Vienna


Ladies and Gentleman,

Dear Colleagues,

We are gathered here today to commemorate the lives of over 2,800 innocent people murdered on September 11 th 2001 in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania in a senseless, criminal act.

Ten years have passed since the terrible events of that long day, but the vivid images remain: an airliner crashing into one of the Twin Towers; the Pentagon in flames; a burning New York skyline and the collapse, one after another, of the Twin Towers into debris and smoke.

Anyone who-in the aftermath of the attacks-visited Ground Zero cannot forget the scenes of devastation and the silence that settled over the area.

And, the global response cannot be forgotten. All countries, all peoples, were united in their condemnation of this atrocity. On that day, and in the days to follow, there were hundreds of thousands of expressions of support to help comfort the families of those who lost loved ones.

Indeed, out of the smoke and debris arose a growing recognition that we are all bound together by a spirit of fraternity and of humanity.

If the terrorists, who cruelly murdered so many people on that day, thought they were destroying those bonds, they were wrong.

We are all united by our common rejection of terrorism, which finds no sanctuary in any nationality, any religion, nor any legitimate political philosophy.

And, just as we cannot forget, we must also remember:

We remember the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who did not come home that night.  Ordinary people going about their daily lives from over 70 countries and all major religious confessions.

We remember the courage of the first responders who-despite the dangers-continued to work. Almost 400 of them sacrificed their own lives so that others might live. Their bravery and dedication are a tribute to their professions.

And, on this tenth anniversary of the September 11 th attacks, we remember the victims of terrorism everywhere; including the 23 people killed and many more injured in the terrorist bombing of the UN building in Abuja, Nigeria on 26 August. Eleven of those killed were our UN colleagues.

I should now like to call for one minute's silence in the name of the victims of September 11 th and all those who have died in terrorist attacks around the globe over the years.

Thank You.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The atrocities on September 11th led to a new resoluteness in the United Nations against those who kill innocent people.

Recognizing that terrorism is one of our greatest challenges, the United Nations adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy; the blueprint of the international community's plan to prevent and combat terrorism.

There are four pillars to the Strategy: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building the capacity of states to counter terrorism; and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism

Within this framework, UNODC has established a criminal justice response that requires widespread ratification and implementation of the legal instruments against terrorism.

We are also focusing on the causes of terrorism by developing projects that promote development, peace and security. While we must be unyielding in our stand against terrorism, we must also confront its causes. This means working on the Millennium Development Goals to lift nations out of poverty and to give people aspirations for their futures.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is September 12th, the first day after September 11 th. A new day, ten years after the events that shocked the world. From this day, let us work together to promote the fundamental principles of the United Nations and honor the victims by creating a world based on the rule of law and free of the fear of terrorism.

Indeed, I believe it is our solemn duty, born out of the violence and chaos in New York that day, to practice tolerance and to strive for global peace and justice.

To do otherwise, to ignore these universal values, is to hand victory to those who destroyed so many lives on September 11 th, 2001. We cannot, and will not do so.

Thank You.