Sérgio Vieira de Mello

November 2008



 Sergio Vieira

“The time has come for every state to redefine global security, placing human rights at the centre of this debate”

The Brazilian ambassador Sergio Vieira de Mello (1948-2003) dedicated great part of his life to humanitarian activity. He worked at the UN for 34 years, holding the position of senior political advisor to the UN Interim force in Lebanon (1981-1983) during the Israeli invasion, as well as several directing positions at the UN High Comissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in Geneva. In the 1990’s, he was director of political affairs of the United Nations Protection Force in the extinct Yugoslavia and he was also sent to the Great Lakes area in East Africa after the genocide in Rwanda. He took over the position of transitional administrator in East Timor, guiding the country to independence and he was also in charge of missions in Kosovo, Cambodia, Sudan and Bangladesh.

In May 2003, he was appointed UN Special Representative in Iraq, with the mission of establishing peace and a democratic government.
His life was interrupted on August 19th, 2003, when the UN headquarters in Bagdad where he was working, were bombed in a terrorist attack. He was awarded the United Nations Prize in the field of Human Rights as a posthumous honour.