Maverick Citizen

Amnesty International’s Kumi Naidoo steps down

By Staff Reporter 6 December 2019

Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo. (Photo: Elevate Festival / Flickr)

Amnesty International Secretary-General Kumi Naidoo has stepped down from his position due to health-related reasons. A media statement from Amnesty International on Thursday 5 December stated that Naidoo’s resignation has been accepted by the International Board and he has handed over his responsibilities to the Deputy Secretary-General, Julie Verhaar, with immediate effect. She will now take up the role of Acting Secretary General until a replacement is recruited.

“I have long considered Amnesty International as one of humanity’s most important global assets, and it is with a heavy heart that I have taken the decision to step down from my position. Now more than ever, the organisation needs a Secretary-General who is fighting fit and can see through its mandate with vitality that this role, this institution, and the mission of universal human rights deserve,” Naidoo said in the statement

“It has been a huge privilege to have worked with our excellent and committed staff and volunteers at the International Secretariat as well as with our Sections. I have been inspired by the important and courageous work being done by our movement. But due to my health, I have no choice but to take this painful decision and step down. I need to recover my health and figure out a more sustainable way to continue to contribute to the struggle for justice in the future.”

Naidoo took the decision to step down following medical advice after a pre-existing medical condition related to hypertension worsened in recent months.

Sarah Beamish, Chair of Amnesty International’s International Board said it was with reluctance, but understanding, that they have accepted Naidoo’s resignation. “During his tenure as Secretary-General he has shown true leadership helping us shape our next global strategy and ensuring that we can meet the human rights challenges facing the world,” she said.

Naidoo intends to honour several longstanding commitments in his capacity as outgoing Secretary-General in the month of December, as long as his state of health permits.

Naidoo is a South African born human rights activist and the first African to head Greenpeace.  MC

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