In memoriam of Kofi Annan

Prof. Manfred Nowak, Secretary General of EIUC, on behalf of the Global Campus of Human Rights, wishes to pay tribute to Kofi Annan, who sadly passed away in Bern on 18 August.



“He was one of the great visionaries of our time who did more for human rights than any other Secretary General of the United Nations.


He reminded us that the three main goals and objectives of the United Nations, peace, development and human rights, are interdependent and that we will neither achieve peace nor development without human rights.


During his term of office between 1997 and 2006, he cooperated closely with three consecutive UN High Commissioners for Human Rights. Together with Mary Robinson, High Commissioner between 1997 and 2002 and currently Honorary President of EIUC, he started a successful reform of mainstreaming and integrating human rights into all policy areas of the United Nations. He also was a main driving force behind the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals and the strong commitment of the world organisation to eradicate poverty.


On the basis of his personal and truly shocking experiences with two genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, which the United Nations failed to prevent despite clear early warning signals and peace-keeping missions being present on the spot, he actively promoted and shaped the new policy of the “Responsibility to Protect”, which was formally adopted by the General Assembly during its summit in 2005. Unfortunately, none of the five permanent members of the Security Council supported his other main and closely connected proposal, namely the long overdue reform of the composition of the Security Council, which included the abolition of the veto power.


The world would look different today and some of the current global crises could have been avoided if world leaders at that time would have been inspired by the visionary ideas and ideals of Kofi Annan.”


Photo Credits: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

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