Secretary-General Confirms Deaths of 3 Top UN Officials in Haiti, Hailing Annabi as 'Icon', Da Costa as 'Legend'

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Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's 16 January statement in New York, confirming the deaths of Hédi Annabi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti, Luiz Carlos da Costa, Principal Deputy Special Representative, and Doug Coates, Acting United Nations Police Commissioner in Haiti:

I am deeply saddened to confirm the tragic death of my Special Representative in 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 United Nations 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 United Nations 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 United Nations Mission in Haiti -- proud of its accomplishments in bringing stability and hope to Haiti's people, proud of his United Nations staff.

Luiz Carlos da Costa, from Brazil, was for many, many years a legend of United Nations 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 United Nations staff. He knew them; he knew their families; and his heart was always open to hear their stories 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 the rule of law and justice.

Our hearts are with them, the families and friends of Hédi, Luiz, Doug and the many other United Nations 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.

For information media - not an official record