Statement by IJC President Vladimir Sloutsker on the death of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC) deeply mourns the passing of former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan.
Mr. Annan was a true global statesman and leader, who devoted his life to fighting for peace, justice and equality amongst all nations and people.
As Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Annan was also deeply committed to combating Antisemitism and promoting fairer treatment of Israel at the UN body.
In 2004, opening the first ever UN seminar on Antisemitism, Mr. Annan said: “The rise of anti-Semitism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. Thus, in fighting anti-Semitism we fight for the future of all humanity.”
In 2006, as Secretary-General, he also publicly criticised the UN Commission on Human Rights for its “disproportionate focus on violations by Israel” while neglecting other more pressing conflicts.
We will also remember and be deeply indebted to Mr. Annan, who as Secretary General, presided over the United Nations in 2005, during the establishmnt of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an initiative of former Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom, which Mr. Annan greatly supported, in order to honor the victims of the Holocaust and for society to learn its lessons.
In 2006, inaugurating the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, Mr. Annan reiterated the United Nations has “a sacred responsibility to combat hatred and intolerance” and to “be at the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism.”
Mr. Annan was a leader, a visionary and a champion for human rights, dignity and peace for all. His passing is a tremendous loss for all mankind, but his innumerable achievements in a career spanning decades, including as Secretary General of the United Nations, shall live on forever.