United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Mary Robinson of Ireland as his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa. Mrs. Robinson will play a key role in supporting the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa, by the signatories.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said that Mrs. Robinson’s skills and experience and her global profile and reputation made her an ideal choice for the role. “Ireland has had a long and significant involvement in efforts to promote peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country which has for far too long endured conflict and tragedy,” he said. “Ireland strongly supports the leadership offered by the United Nations, and in particular the personal diplomatic engagement of the Secretary General in this renewed effort to break the cycle of violence in eastern DRC. The challenges will only be met and overcome through resolute African action,”.
Almost three million people have fled the conflict since the middle of last year including about 2.5 million who have settled in Congo. More than 460,000 have crossed into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda. “I am honoured that the Secretary-General has entrusted to me this important responsibility, to which I am already focusing my energies,” Ms. Robinson said in a statement. Mary Robinson brings with her more than four decades of political and diplomatic experience. She served as President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997 and was a member of the Irish Senate from 1969 to 1989. Mrs. Robinson has considerable international experience, most notably as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002.
Mrs. Robinson will continue to serve as President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy on the struggle to secure global justice for those many victims of climate change who are usually forgotten - the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.
From 2002 to 2010, Mary Robinson led the organisation Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative, whose core activities included strengthening women’s leadership and encouraging corporate responsibility. Mrs. Robinson is internationally renowned for championing human rights, is a member of the Elders and serves on the Board and Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
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