Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kofi: "Can I stop pretending I am Not an Anti-American Socialist Now?"

UN's Reuters - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a farewell address to global leaders on Tuesday, depicted a world divided by an unjust economy, contempt for human rights and a failure to make peace in the Middle East.

To a standing ovation from presidents, prime and foreign ministers, Annan, who ends 10 years in office on December 31, said there had been some progress in living standards, security and a drop in global conflicts since he first addressed the General Assembly in 1997.

"And yet. And yet. Every day, reports reach us of new laws broken, of new bestial crimes to which individuals and minority groups are subjected," Annan said.

"The events of the last 10 years have not resolved, but sharpened, the three great challenges I spoke of - an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law, "Annan said.

"As a result, we face a world whose divisions threaten the very notion of an international community, upon which this institution stands," he said..

Annan said that fear of terrorism had made many people feel insecure but warned that should not be used as a pretext "to abridge or abrogate fundamental human rights."

Annan had pushed for the right of the international community to protect populations when their governments refused to do so, which was enshrined in a document adopted by world leaders a year ago.

But Annan, a Ghanaian, said that the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region made that commitment to protect people from atrocities seem like an empty promise.