Flags fly at half-mast for a week in honour of Kofi Annan

Announcing the week of national mourning, Nana Addo described Kofi Annan as "one of our greatest compatriots".

Announcing the week of national mourning, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described Annan as "one of our greatest compatriots".

Officials from across the UN system have been paying tribute to the man who led the global body for a decade, starting in January 1997.

He was Secretary-General during what has been described as one of the darkest days in the UN history: the Aug. 19, 2003 bombing of the UN premises in Baghdad, Iraq.

For Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Annan is simply "irreplaceable".

"Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace.

"In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful," Zeid said in a statement.

Annan was the seventh of nine men appointed Secretary-General since the UN was established in 1945.

He was the first to emerge from the ranks of UN staff and the second to come from the African continent, after his predecessor, Egyptian diplomat Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali.

Before taking the reins of the UN, he held various senior level positions at the headquarters and in the field, and at one point he was Zeid’s immediate boss.

The UN rights chief recalled a man who was ever courageous and though direct in speech, never discourteous.

Zeid added: "Later, when I was an ambassador at the UN he inspired us, by being a dynamic and charismatic leader in his capacity as Secretary-General.

"And most of all, he was a friend and counsel – to me and to so many others.  Whenever – as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, I felt isolated and alone politically (which, in the last four years, was often) I would go for long walks with him around Geneva – and listen."

Annan and the UN were jointly awarded the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.


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