Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, where he was tragically killed, along with his 21 colleagues, when the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad was bombed on 19 August 2003.
During his 34-year career with the United Nations, which began in 1969, Mr. Vieira de Mello served in several duty stations and often played extremely important roles.
Prior to his Iraq posting, he was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2002 to 2003; United Nations Transitional Administrator in East Timor during the period 1999 to May 2002, when he guided this former Portuguese territory occupied by Indonesia, to independence; United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Kosovo from 1999; and Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees from 1996. Mr. Vieira de Mello was the first and only United Nations Representative to hold talks with the members of the ruling Khmer Rouge party, when he was the Special Envoy to Cambodia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the early 1990s. Earlier in his career, Mr. Vieira de Mello participated in United Nations missions in Bangladesh, Cyprus, Lebanon, Mozambique, and Peru.
This interview was conducted on 5 May 1998, while Mr. Vieira de Mello was serving as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. He discussed his term as Special Envoy for UNHCR in Cambodia.