Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan, who was secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) from 1997 to 2006, has died aged 80 on Saturday (August 18), his family and foundation has said.
Annan, who repeatedly spoke out against the discrimination of gay people, died following a “short illness,” a statement posted on Annan’s official Twitter account read.
The Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation described the seventh secretary-general, who received jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with the UN for his humanitarian work in 2001, as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world.”
“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did,” the statement continued.
Back in 2003, Annan, who was the first black African person to get the role as secretary-general, took part in an event at the UN Headquarters in New York, which was focused on protecting the rights of lesbians and gays around the world.
At the event, Annan made an impromptu speech calling for an end to the discrimination of gay people.
“We should be much more tolerant and compassionate. And I think what is important is that we should stress those positive aspects in our society, the things that bring us together, and move away from discrimination and persecution,” he said. Read more via Pink News