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Statement by President Michael D. Higgins on the passing of former President of the Republic of Portugal H.E. Jorge Sampaio

Date: Fri 10th Sep, 2021 | 17:52

“I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Jorge Sampaio who previously served as President of Portugal from 1996-2006.

Throughout his legal and political career, former President Sampaio was a staunch advocate of human rights and the free exercise of political rights. From the 1960s onwards, he played an important role in helping to bring about his country’s transition to democracy in the 1970s and beyond.

He also contributed significantly to the advancement of human rights in his capacity as a member of the European Human Rights Commission of the Council of Europe. These and his many other qualities as a statesman and leader of his people were fully reflected during the two terms which he served as President of Portugal.

After leaving that high office, he continued to serve at global level when was appointed by Kofi Annan as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy against Tuberculosis, and subsequently by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations which seeks to counter extremism.

President Sampaio paid a State Visit to Ireland in 1999. He is still remembered fondly and will continue to be so remembered. On behalf of the Irish people, Sabina and I extend our sincere condolences to his family,  friends and the people of the Portuguese Republic.”