He created a foundation dedicated to development and peace, and was part of a group created by Nelson Mandela to promote human rights
Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan died on Saturday at the age of 80, having become a star of world diplomacy during his ten years as head of the United Nations.
“With great sadness, the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize winner, died peacefully on Saturday, August 18, after a short illness,” the foundation announced. a statement in Geneva.
Annan, of Ghanaian nationality, and who lived in Switzerland, was the seventh general secretary of the UN, occupying the function from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2006.
According to the Swiss ATS news agency, Annan died in a hospital in the German part of Switzerland.
Shortly after announcing the death of Annan, the Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres expressed his sadness at the death of his predecessor at the head of the United Nations, calling it “a force that led to good”.
Ghana, his native country, decreed a week of national mourning starting on Monday.
Annan was the first UN secretary general from Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Ghanaian head of the UN during the difficult period of the war in Iraq, but his balance was overshadowed by accusations of corruption in the case of “oil against food.”
But when leaving the position, Annan was one of the most popular leaders of the UN. Together with the organization, Annan received the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for his “efforts in favor of a better organized and more peaceful world”.
“I have tried to place the human being at the center of everything we undertake: from the prevention of conflicts to development, going through human rights,” he said when accepting the prize in Oslo.
Except for a few years as director of tourism in Ghana, Annan dedicated 40 years of his professional life to the United Nations. He was the first general secretary who came from the same organization.
He first directed the human resources of the UN, then the budgets, before directing from 1993 the maintenance of peace and being propelled four years later to the direction of the organization.
When he ran the peacekeeping department, the UN experienced two of its darkest periods in its history: the Rwandan genocide and the war in Bosnia.
The Blue Helmets retreated in 1994 from Rwanda in the midst of ethnic chaos and violence. And a year later, the UN could not stop Serbian forces from killing thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica, in Bosnia.
These failures, Kofi Annan wrote in his autobiography, “confronted me with what was to become my most important challenge as general secretary: to make the legitimacy and the need to intervene in case of flagrant violation of human rights understood.”