As UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan championed human rights and peace, writes Mary Robinson in the Irish Times. With empathy and endless energy, he worked to bring stability and safety to some of the world’s most impoverished places. He was one of few that publicly stood against the Iraq war, withstanding many personal attacks by George W Bush. Annan worked hardest in places like South Africa and Zimbabwe, understanding that their poor leadership and unstable democratic institutions would cause much harm. Particularly in the latter, he helped restore calm when an election led to violence. He helped make the planet a better place wherever he could.
Kofi Annan’s UN leadership was fraught with corruption, mismanagement and cover-ups, holds Michael Rubin of the Washington Examiner. He led the 1994 UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda but ignored strong signs of the impending genocide, which killed millions of people. He passed a poor resolution allowing the Iraqi government to steal billions of funds intended for its citizens. Annan then did his best to cover up this debacle and shut down independent probes. He also helped set up and even praised a conference with strong anti-Semitic undertones. While he seemed to lead positive causes, Annan’s handling of his UN role caused problems.