Francesc Vendrell (1940-2022): a Catalan diplomat at the United Nations

  • He worked both as UN Secretary General’s Personal Representative and EU's Special Representative for Afghanistan

Francesc Vendrell in Berlin (picture from the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung)
28.11.2022 - 18:26
Actualització: 28.11.2022 - 18:30

Catalan diplomat Francesc Vendrell died on 27 November in London, aged 82, from a severe illness. He joined the United Nations in 1968, where he started a long and successful career. He was was a passionate and very active diplomat, a true defender of peace and human rights, also commited to Catalonia’s right to self-determination.

As the United Nations Secretary General’s Personal Representative, he intervened in the peace processes of El Salvador, Nicaragua and East Timor. He also participated in diplomatic missions in the Caucasus and Haiti.

Likewise, from 2000 to 2002, at a particularly turbulent time in Afghanistan’s history, he headed the UN’s special mission in Afghanistan, where he was also a representative of the European Union. After that mission, he was awarded Catalonia’s high recognition Creu de Sant Jordi.

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Francesc Vendrell”, tweeted the UN special rapporteur on Afghanistan, Richard Bennett. “He was a wise friend of Afghanistan and a champion for human rights, serving bothe the UN and the EU”, he added.

The Afghanistan Analysts Network wrote a long obituary for Francesc Vendrell, who was the chair of the Advisory Board, describing him as “a passionate diplomat, a seeker of peace and defender of human rights, not just with lip service but with a drive and ideas for action”.


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