JOHANNESBURG – Renowned international rights group Amnesty International has chosen South African civil society leader, anti-apartheid campaigner and life-long activist Kumi Naidoo as the organisation’s next Secretary General.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Kumi as our new Secretary General. His vision and passion for a just and peaceful world make him an outstanding leader for our global movement, as we strengthen our resolve for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all,” said Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the Board of Amnesty International. The Secretary General is the leader and main spokesperson for Amnesty and the Chief Executive of its International Secretariat.
Amnesty is the largest human rights movement globally, with a global presence including offices in more than 70 countries, 2,600 staff and seven million members, volunteers and supporters worldwide. Kumi will take over from current Secretary-General Salil Shetty in August 2018.
His previous leadership roles include Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Chair of the Global Call for Climate Action, Founding Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty and Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation.
He currently chairs three start-up organisations in South Africa: Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity; the Campaign for a Just Energy Future; and the Global Climate Finance Campaign. Naidoo holds a BA in Law and Political Science (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and a DPhil in Politics (University of Oxford).
“I have been an activist and campaigner all my life, so I am excited to be joining the world’s largest people movement for human rights at a time when we need to counter increasing attacks on basic freedoms and on civil society around the globe. This means adapting to a fluid fast-changing global environment with urgency, passion and with courage,” said Naidoo.
“Amnesty International’s campaigns for justice and equality today are more urgent than ever, and I am humbled and honored to be leading the organisation in these challenging times.” The Secretary General is appointed by the International Board of Amnesty International for an initial four year term.