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AHRC Mourns the Death of Icon for Freedom, Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright

"I find it difficult to watch people being killed for who/ what they are" - she noted, once a refugee herself.

African Human rights Coalition mourns the sad loss of Madeleine Albright, the first woman US secretary of state, an icon for freedom, who helped steer Western foreign policy in the aftermath of the Cold War, has died of cancer. She was 84 years old and as a child, a refugee herself. We send condolences to her family, her friends and staff and the American people. May she rest in peace and her memory be a blessing.

Born Marie Jana Korbelova, the daughter of a Czechoslovakian diplomat, in Prague in 1937, Sec Albright escaped then-Czechoslovakia with her family 10 days after the Nazi invasion. Her experience growing up in communist Yugoslavia and then fleeing to the US made her a lifelong opponent of totalitarianism and fascism. She was raised Roman Catholic, though she later converted to Episcopalian, and learned later in life about her family's Jewish heritage.

She was a central figure in President Bill Clinton's administration, first serving as US ambassador to the United Nations before becoming the nation's top diplomat in his second term. She championed the expansion of NATO, pushed for the alliance to intervene in the Balkans to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing, sought to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, and championed human rights and democracy across the globe.

Shortly before she passed away she noted in an opinion piece that invading Ukraine would ensure Putin's infamy by leaving his country diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger, more united Western alliance.

Albright's tenure as secretary of state also saw the al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people.

Throughout her career, Albright was known for wearing brooches or decorative pins to convey her foreign policy messages. When she found out that the Russians had bugged the State Department, she wore a large bug pin when she next met with them. When Saddam Hussein referred to Albright as a snake, she took to wearing a gold snake pin; when she was called a witch, she proudly brandished a miniature broom. When she slammed as "completely un-American" acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli's suggestion that only immigrants who can "stand on their own two feet" are welcome in the United States, Albright wore a Statue of Liberty pin.

Sec Albright is known for making visits to Refugee Camps and for her concern for the state of human rights around the world.


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