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Former Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan dead at 80

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KOFI A. ANNAN of Ghana , the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, served from 1997 to 2006 and was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff.

One of Mr. Annan’s main priorities as Secretary-General was a comprehensive programme of reform aimed at revitalizing the United Nations and making the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa , and sought to bring the Organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.-United Nations

His foundation announced in a tweet on Saturday that Annan “passed away peacefully” after a short illness on Saturday in the Swiss city of Bern. It did not provide details but remembered him as a figure who radiated “genuine kindness, warmth, and brilliance in all he did.”-VOX

During his time at the UN, Annan oversaw both triumph and tragedy. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalize the UN and as the New York Times writes crafted a new “norm of humanitarian intervention” for the organization. While he was UN peacekeeping chief, the body saw two of its greatest failures during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srberenica in 1995.-VOX

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UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was “grief-stricken” over Annan’s death, adding that he was a “friend to thousands and a leader of millions.”

“Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace,” he said. “In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful.”-CNN

Mr. Annan joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva . He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa , the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Ismailia , the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva , and in various senior posts in New York dealing with human resources, budget, finance and staff security. Immediately before becoming Secretary-General, he was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping . Mr. Annan also served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia (1995-1996), and facilitated the repatriation from Iraq of more than 900 international staff and other non-Iraqi nationals (1990).-United Nations

Annan was chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights founded by Nelson Mandela. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway and the body’s deputy chair, said she and her colleagues were devastated by Annan’s death.

“Kofi was a strong and inspiring presence to us all, and The Elders would not be where it is today without his leadership. Throughout his life, Kofi worked unceasingly to improve the lives of millions of people around the world,” she said.-The Guardian

Before becoming secretary-general, he was under-secretary-general for peacekeeping and also served as special representative of the secretary-general to the former Yugoslavia between 1995 and 1996.

The UN peacekeeping operation faced two of its most criticised incidents under Annan’s leadership for its conduct during the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and the massacre in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.-The Guardian

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