Statement on the death of Mohamed Sahnoun (1931-2018)

21 September 2018

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect mourns the loss of Mohamed Sahnoun and expresses our sincere condolences to his family and all those who were honored to count him as a friend.

The Global Centre had the privilege of working closely with Mr. Sahnoun. Mohamed devoted his life to diplomacy and the pursuit of peace, serving as Deputy Secretary-General of both the Organization of African Unity and the League of Arab States, as well as Algeria’s Ambassador to Morocco, the United States, France and Germany. A fearless diplomat, Mr. Sahnoun served in various capacities at the United Nations, perhaps most notably as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Somalia during 1992.

For the past two decades Mohamed was committed to advancing the principle that the world can and should do more to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Together with Australia’s former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, Mohamed chaired the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) that first articulated the concept of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) populations from mass atrocity crimes. Mohamed also played a leading role in the establishment of the Global Centre during 2008 and served as a founding co-chair of our International Advisory Board until the time of his passing.

Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre, said that “it was an honor for each of us to work with Mohamed Sahnoun, to learn from his extensive diplomatic experience, and to benefit from his passionate leadership in holding the international community to a higher standard for the prevention of mass atrocities. R2P and our organization are part of his legacy.”

Gareth Evans, who co-chaired both ICISS and the International Advisory Board of the Global Centre with Mr. Sahnoun, said “Mohamed was a wonderful friend and colleague, with an extraordinary diplomatic capacity to bring people together, defuse tensions and bind wounds. He played an indispensable role in finding the common ground between North and South which made possible the birth of the Responsibility to Protect.”

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect


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Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5203
New York, NY 10016-4309, USA

Phone: +1 212-817-1929 |
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