Amnesty International Pays Tribute to Late Archbishop Desmond Tutu
By Adedapo Adesanya
Amnesty International has paid tribute to one of the world’s dedicated human rights champions, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, who passed away on December 26, 2021, at the age of 90.
The group in a statement said the death of Archbishop Tutu leaves a big void in the struggle for human rights and freedom around the world as he dedicated his entire life to the fight to create a world where people could be free to claim and exercise their freedoms, without being prejudiced or persecuted for who they are.
According to Mr Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, he will be remembered for standing up for the oppressed people of South Africa during the apartheid government’s segregation and oppression of black people, denying them basic human rights such as freedom of association, movement and assembly.
“The world has lost a dedicated human rights champion. Archbishop Desmond Tutu refused to sit and watch injustice meted out against the people of South Africa by the apartheid government at a time when it was costly to stand up against the regime. He also stood up for the oppressed people elsewhere around the world, ensuring that he spoke out for their freedom,” the international body said.
Amnesty noted that the late Archbishop was a fervent supporter of its human rights work, noting that he supported the organization’s Arms Trade Treaty campaign, an international treaty that sets out robust global rules to stop the flow of weapons, munitions and related items to countries when it is known they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and serious human rights violations.
He also worked with the organization to campaign to free political prisoners in Burma in August 2012, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Archbishop Desmond Tutu devoted his entire life to ensuring justice for all. He wanted to see a world where all co-existed in peace and harmony, without any prejudice. He is a true example of a selfless human rights fighter,” said Mr Muchena.
He also worked with Amnesty International to champion the rights of LGBTI people while supporting the organization’s campaign against the death penalty, putting pressure on countries still using it as punishment for crime to bring an end to the cruel and inhuman practice.
“Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu leaves a remarkable human rights legacy. It is for us to continue where he left off, to demand better from our governments and to create human rights-respecting societies,” the group noted.