HomeUnited NationsSecretary-General, Saddened by Passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hails South African Theologian as...

Secretary-General, Saddened by Passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hails South African Theologian as ‘Towering Global Figure for Peace’

The following statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres was issued today:

I was greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an unwavering voice for the voiceless.

Archbishop Tutu was a towering global figure for peace and an inspiration to generations across the world.  During the darkest days of apartheid, he was a shining beacon for social justice, freedom and non-violent resistance.

Archbishop Tutu’s relentless determination to build global solidarity for a free and democratic South Africa was fittingly recognized by the Nobel Committee in its decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

As Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he made an immeasurable contribution to ensuring a peaceful, yet just, transition to a democratic South Africa.  His great wisdom and experience were always communicated with humanity, humour and heart.

Archbishop Tutu was a steadfast champion of multilateralism and had important roles, for example, as a distinguished member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention, and on a high level fact-finding mission to Gaza in 2008.

In recent decades, Archbishop Tutu continued to fight passionately for action on many of the critical issues of our time — poverty, climate change, human rights and HIV/AIDS, among others.

Although Archbishop Tutu’s passing leaves a huge void on the global stage, and in our hearts, we will be forever inspired by his example to continue the fight for a better world for all.


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