11 September 2003


NEW YORK, 10 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Council on Foreign Relations in tribute to Arthur Helton, delivered today by Edward Mortimer, Director of Communications:


Our dear colleague and friend Arthur Helton had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on 19 August in Baghdad. But it was wholly in character that Arthur was there, on the frontlines, alongside the United Nations and others working to relieve human suffering.

Refugees and internally displaced people throughout the world knew him as their tireless advocate, someone who could cut through red tape and rouse people from inertia and indifference.

His students knew him as an uncommonly accessible professor, and one who could speak clearly about the issues, breaking away from academic prose.

His fellow lawyers and human rights activists knew him as a model of commitment, a creative problem-solver and a steady fount of new insights and ideas.

And we at the United Nations knew him as an exceptional ally and partner -- one who always asked important questions, and did not flinch from ambitious answers.  We recall with affection, and with sadness, his gentle manner and great energy.  He made a vital contribution to our debates on humanitarian action, and his writings will continue to guide us in the future.

Arthur's luck ran out that awful day in Baghdad, but only after a lifetime of being in the right place, again and again and again.  His example should serve as a source of strength to all of us who strive to continue his work.  He was a tireless servant of peace.  We shall remember him.

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