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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 19, 2003

Statement on Death of Sergio Vieira de Mello

I was deeply saddened to hear of Sergio Vieira de Mello's death at the hand of terrorists in Iraq. Special Representative Vieira de Mello committed his life to advancing the cause of human rights, most recently as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. When Secretary General Annan asked him to take a leave of absence from those duties to work in Iraq, he agreed without hesitation. Just as he selflessly coordinated international efforts in East Timor and Kosovo, Mr. de Mello was helping the Iraqi people move down the path towards a democratic country governed by the rule of law. My deepest condolences go to his family and to the people of Brazil, who have lost one of their finest public servants.

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