The Permanent Missions of Afghanistan and Spain, co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, along with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre, commemorated the 2nd International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, observed on August 21st through the opening of the photo exhibition, “Surviving Terrorism: The Power of Resilience.” The exhibit, which showcases the resilience of men and women who have continued to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, is part of a series of events taking place this week to pay tribute to those affected by these life-changing traumatic events.
The event was opened by the Permanent Representative of Spain, H.E. Mr. Agustín Santos Maraver, followed by keynote remarks by the UN Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres. After the keynote, the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, H.E. Mrs. Adela Raz, delivered a statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism. Additionally, there were brief remarks by victims of terrorist attacks – Ms. Maureen Basnicki from Canada, Ms. Sarah Tikolo from Kenya and Ms. Thelma Stober from the United Kingdom. The Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Voronkov provided closing remarks for the meeting.
Statements by the UN officials and the Permanent Representatives emphasized the importance of the formation of the Group of Friends, ensuring that voices of victims are heard and that their complex needs are met in the aftermath of attacks, and on focusing on putting victims at the center of the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy, including through initiatives such as the upcoming First International Congress for Victims of Terrorism. On the other hand, victims shared their own stories of trauma and resilience in the face of tragedy emphasizing on the importance of assisting victims. The event also included a minute of silence in the name of victims.
The International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism was proclaimed as August 21st by the UN General Assembly following the adoption of resolution 72/165, proposed by Afghanistan two years ago. The formation of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism and June of this year and the adoption of resolution 73/305, also proposed by Afghanistan, on the “Enhancement of International Cooperation to Assist Victims of Terrorism,” have further collaborated to the growing architecture on the matter.