Reaction to the death of South Africa's Desmond Tutu

by Reuters
Sunday, 26 December 2021 21:50 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Archbishop Desmond Tutu gestures at the launch of a human rights campaign marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , December 10, 2007. The campaign aims at getting a billion people to sign in support of the declaration. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo (SOUTH AFRICA)

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World leaders and organizations remember South Africa's late Desmond Tutu

(Adds reaction from U.S. Vice President Harris, Britain's Prince Charles)

Dec 26 (Reuters) - South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of the struggle against white minority rule, died on Sunday aged 90.

Following are reactions to his death.

PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

"The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.

"Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead."

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND FIRST LADY JILL BIDEN

"On this morning after Christmas, we are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a true servant of God and of the people, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa."

"His courage and moral clarity helped inspire our commitment to change American policy toward the repressive Apartheid regime in South Africa."

U.S. VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a fervent, vocal opponent of apartheid and committed champion of human rights. He inspired millions, not just in South Africa, but worldwide to stand with those fighting for freedom and justice."

THABO MAKGOBA, ARCHBISHOP OF CAPE TOWN

"Desmond Tutu's legacy is moral strength, moral courage and clarity. He felt with the people. In public and alone, he cried because he felt people's pain. And he laughed – no, not just laughed, he cackled with delight when he shared their joy."

NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION

"His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberator futures for human societies. He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd."

VATICAN TELEGRAM

"His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu... Mindful of his service to the gospel through the promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa, his Holiness commends his soul to the loving mercy of Almighty God."

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend and a moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere.

"He never lost his impish sense of humour and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries, and Michelle and I will miss him dearly."

UK'S QUEEN ELIZABETH

"I am joined by the whole Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world. I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour.

"Archbishop Tutu's loss will be felt by the people of South Africa, and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem."

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu - a towering global figure for peace & justice, voice of the voiceless & inspiration to people everywhere.

"We will continue to draw strength from his humanity, passion & resolve to fight for a better world for all."

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER

"No words better exemplify his ministry than the three he contributed to a work of art at The Carter Center: Love, freedom and compassion."

JOHN STEENHUISEN, LEADER OF SOUTH AFRICAN OPPOSITION PARTY THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE

"A true South African giant has left us today, but his spirit will live on ... in our continued effort to build a united, successful, non-racial South Africa for all ... When we lost our way, he was the moral compass that brought us back."

EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF JOSEP BORRELL

"Desmond Tutu did a lot of good for the world. His legacy of resistance to apartheid and to inequalities lives on in today's South Africa and for all humankind."

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY JUSTIN WELBY

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a prophet and priest, a man of words and action – one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life."

THE DALAI LAMA, TIBET'S SPIRITUAL LEADER

"The friendship and the spiritual bond between us was something we cherished. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good."

BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING

"I'm saddened to learn of the death of global sage, human rights leader, and powerful pilgrim on earth ... We are better because he was here."

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

"His contagious sense of humour and laughter has helped to resolve many critical situations in South Africa's political and church life. He was able to break almost any deadlock. He shared with us the laughter and grace of God many a time."

UK PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON

"He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa - and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour."

UK DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DOMINIC RAAB

"His adage, 'Don't raise your voice, improve your argument', has never felt more apt."

BRITAIN'S PRINCE CHARLES AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL

"My wife and I are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu whose bravery in speaking out against the evil of apartheid and highlighting the threat of climate change was an inspiration to us all."

MEXICAN PRESIDENT ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR

"One of his sayings is terse, but forceful and true: 'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'"

BASIM NAEEM, SENIOR OFFICIAL WITH PALESTINIAN ISLAMIST MILITANT GROUP HAMAS

"Our Palestinian people lost a strong supporter of their march towards freedom and independence. Father Desmond Tutu spent his entire life struggling against racism and defending human rights and especially on the Palestinian land."

WASEL ABU YOUSSEF, MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANISATION

"Father Desmond Tutu was one of the biggest supporters of the Palestinian cause. He had always advocated the rights of the Palestinians to gain their freedom and rejected Israeli occupation and apartheid."

UNAIDS, THE JOINT UNITED NATIONS PROGRAMME ON HIV/AIDS

"He was a powerful voice in the fight against AIDS, combating denial, demanding access to treatment for all, calling out against discrimination of people living with HIV, and championing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, women, and children. His work on HIV and tuberculosis prevention and treatment changed global paradigms and saved many lives."

(Reporting by South Africa bureau, Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Diane Bartz in Washington and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by David Goodman, John Stonestreet, Hugh Lawson and Diane Craft)