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Posted on on July 9th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (


Terror attack survivor to carry Olympic “Flame of Hope” in memory of the fallen colleagues

VIENNA, 9 July, 2012  (UN Information Service) – The Tyrolean UN staff member Bianca Kopp is on 15 July, the Olympic torch on its way through the English seaside town of Portsmouth wear.

The 31-year-old Austrian from Silz, Tyrol, and employee of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Bianca Kopp lived on 26 August 2011, the terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Abuja (Nigeria). The attack killed 25 people, among them the 30-year-old Norwegian Ingrid Midtgaard also UNODC staff, and 10 other UN staff. More than 60 people were seriously injured and damaged the building massively. At the time of attack were working more than 400 people in the complex, which housed at least 26 humanitarian organizations and agencies of the United Nations.

Bianca Kopp was nominated by the Executive Director Yury Fedotov, on behalf of UNODC to carry the Olympic torch. He said “all countries, all nations condemn terrorism. We are united in common opposition to this cruelty, which in no nationality, religion or anything of a legitimate political philosophy is conservation. “

Bianca’s story touched: “I do not know why I survived, or why my colleagues were killed. In the midst of so much anxiety and loss of cohesion gave us as a UN family support. We have worked together to each other as best we could to help. We were all targets of persons for which a person’s life has no value, “she said.

“As an employee of the United Nations, we are all working to promote peace and harmony. Terrorists will never win because it strengthened the midst of losing our resolve, for the ideals that we hold up to work even harder, “said Bianca, who shows great courage and sympathized.

Bianca Kopp worked for the UNODC as a Junior Professional Officer (JPO). The JPO program allows young Austrian academics as agents of an international organization, especially in field operations in developing countries to gain experience in multilateral cooperation, and is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and international affairs.

Since 2003, UNODC helps countries in the fight against global terrorism. The office has assisted nearly 170 countries in the adoption and implementation of legal instruments against terrorism.

“I carry this torch to remember my late colleagues who lost their lives unnecessarily,” says Bianca. It calls on governments to increase financial support for the security of UN staff who work in some of the most dangerous places in the world. “UN staff are working under harsh and life threatening situations. You need to be better protected. “

Bianca is part of a team of employees of the United Nations participating in the Olympic torch relay. These include the German Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations on Sport for Development and Peace, as well as representatives of the Environment Programme (UNEP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP) and UN-Habitat , the United Nations Programme on Human Settlements.

The Olympic flame, which stands for peace, unity and friendship, is borne of 8,000 torchbearers. The Portsmouth route is part of the Olympic torch relay, which leads directly to the grand opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

“The Olympic torch symbolizes for me our determination and unending hope to continue the work of our deceased colleagues. Our “Flame of Hope” continues to burn, “says Bianca.

*****For further information please contact:


Viegas Luciana
Public Information Officer
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-4709
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4709
E-mail: luciana.viegas [at]

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