Human Rights Watch 'deeply saddened' by passing of Kofi Annan

New York, US (PANA) - Human Rights Watch says it is deeply saddened by the passing of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose deep commitment to the promotion and defense of human rights around the world will be missed.

“The international community has lost a courageous voice for collective action in the face of atrocity,” said Buno Stagno-Ugarte, deputy executive director for advocacy at Human Rights Watch. “Annan was never shy in challenging perpetrators, no matter the political cost. His transformative vision for human rights inspired so many and improved countless lives.”

Kofi Annan's family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announced on Saturday that he passed away early in the day at a hospital in Switzerland on Saturday morning after short illness. He was 80.

"It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days," a statement by the family and Foundation said.

A tribute by Human Rights Watch on Sunday said as secretary-general, Annan was instrumental in making human rights central to the United Nations, advocating for rights promotion to be a primary focus of the organization on par with peace and development.

During his tenure, new human rights mechanisms proliferated and existing ones were strengthened, culminating with the establishment of the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review, which subjects all UN member states to scrutiny by their peers.

Building on his experience as head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he presided over a major effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation within UN peacekeeping, instituting a Zero-Tolerance Policy.

"Annan was also a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court and played a key role in giving life to the Responsibility to Protect as an emerging international norm. He presided over the establishment of a Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, as well as a Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict."

HRW said after the UN, Annan continued to advocate for human rights and played a central role in conflict prevention through his work at the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders.

"His personal interventions following the 2007 election in Kenya are credited with staunching post-election violence and averting greater tragedy. He was also appointed UN-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria and tried to prevent escalation of the conflict, but resigned in 2012 because of lack of support for his peace plan. Most recently, he chaired the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and recommended that Myanmar review its 1982 citizenship law, which discriminates against the Rohingya Muslim population."

Human Rights Watch extended its deepest condolences to the Annan family as well as the staff at the Kofi Annan Foundation and The Elders.

In another tribute, UN Children;s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore wrote: “I was saddened and heartbroken to learn of the passing of Kofi Annan. Father. Husband. Humanitarian. Elder. He was a lifelong servant of peace.”

She said: “He was particularly concerned about the future - the world our children and their children will inherit. And he led the United Nations during a time when millions emerged out of poverty and he helped shape the future of global development work.

“Most of all, Kofi Annan believed in the project of the United Nations. When once asked why he had failed to advance reforms, he reportedly quipped, 'the Lord had the wonderful advantage of being able to work alone.' Yet, through his six decades of international public service, Annan was committed to making sure he was not alone – enlisting us all in the work of building a better world.

“And in the end, Annan’s life reflected his understanding of it – that the fate of each of us determines the fate of all of us. On behalf of everyone at UNICEF, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, his beloved nation of Ghana, and the UN community.”
-0- PANA MA 20Aug2018

20 august 2018 02:19:05

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