Ban Ki-moon hails ‘historic’ marriage referendum result
UN secretary-general awarded Tipperary International Peace Award
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon at a ceremony to receive the Tipperary International Peace Award last night, at Ballykisteen Hotel in Co Tipperary. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has hailed the result of Ireland’s marriage equality referendum as “truly an historic moment” for human rights.
Receiving the Tipperary International Peace Award last night as he began a visit to the country, the UN chief said Ireland was a world leader in areas such as international development, peacekeeping, human rights and conflict resolution.
“We saw this commitment yet again with Friday’s referendum,” said Mr Ban. “This is truly an historic moment. Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve marriage equality in a nationwide referendum. The result sends an important message to the world; all people are entitled to enjoy their human rights and human dignity, no matter who they are or whom they love.”
He added: “I’ve been adding my voice. I’ve been talking to many world leaders and speaking with some countries’ leaders who are either against or reluctant. I told them that this is a human right and human dignity. Whatever sexual orientation you may have, they should be respected and supported as human beings.”
He also referred to the recent decision by the Irish Government to send the naval vessel the LE Eithne to the Mediterranean to help deal with the crisis of people fleeing north Africa and with the “search-and-rescue missions”.
The Tipperary International Peace Convention presented Mr Ban with the annual prize for his work in promoting sustainable development, tackling climate change, empowering women, strengthening peacekeeping and peace-building efforts and generating momentum on disarmament and arms control. Previous winners include Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela.