Karambir Kang, who was the General Manager of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai when the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks occurred, called upon the international community to act against terrorism and seek justice for the victims who lost their lives during the attack.
While speaking at the first UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism to pay tribute to the victims around the world, Karambir Kang shared the painful memories of the attack of 26/11, when he lost his family – his wife and two young sons.
“The entire world watched with horror when 10 terrorists attacked my country, city and my hotel, the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai where I was the general manager. During the tragedy that continued over three long days and night, over 34 previous lives were lost,” Mr Kang said.
“My wife and two young sons could not escape and perished during the attack, I lost everything. My staff members armed only with courage and the deep-rooted culture of the family, which the TATA and Taj group stands for, stood strong without any weapons, we lost many brave colleagues and this heroic act saved thousands of lives that night,” he added.
Mr Kang went on to say that while the terrorists who entered the hotel met their fate, the people who planned it financed it and organised the attack remain free.
“While our company and staff received global accolades, we have spent 14 long and painful years trying to seek justice.”
He said, “Today I call upon the international community to work together to seek justice nationally and across borders, as our own act of defiance to the terrorism, we opened the hotel which was totally destroyed in 21 days.”
“Member states must join us and defiance and ensure that there are no safe harbours for terrorists so that these heinous crimes are not given space to take root,” Mr Kang concluded.
The first UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism is being held from Sept 8-9 to pay tribute to victims of terrorism around the world, including the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
The United Nations Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism was convened under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
This Congress will provide a platform for victims of terrorism to share experiences directly, challenges, stories of their resilience, and contributions to wider society in a socially connected environment.
“Starting tomorrow @UN The 1st #UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism, 8-9 Sept will be a tribute to victims of terrorism around the world, including the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” India at UN tweeted.
According to the UN, the Congress will allow the audience to learn about good practices undertaken by the Member States and civil society organizations, while ensuring that victims’ voices are heard and that their experiences shape the way forward in their own countries and across borders.
The opening of the Global Congress will feature high-level participation, including UN chief Guterres, Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov, the co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, the Republic of Iraq and the Kingdom of Spain, and other senior United Nations and international community representatives, an official statement said earlier.
Subsequent plenaries and parallel sessions will feature speakers representing Member States, victims, victims’ associations, United Nations entities, civil society organizations, experts, academics, and the private sector.
The programme of the Global Congress consists of six overarching themes reflecting the rights and needs ascribed to victims of terrorism.
The themes are: Recognition and Remembrance; Situation analysis: the changing nature of terrorism and victims of terrorism; Protecting the rights of victims of terrorism; Rehabilitation, assistance and support; Addressing the rights and needs of victims of terrorism with specific needs and Access to justice for victims of terrorism.
Last month, the UN Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ni Aolain urged Governments to adopt a human rights-based approach to victims of terrorism by positively and consistently affirming the human rights of all victims.
“The International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism must serve as a call to action and a reminder that commitments made to date must be implemented with immediate effect to ensure the realization of the rights of victims of terrorism,” Aolain said in a statement to mark the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism.