UN chief praises Ireland referendum

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon

Visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised the result of Ireland’s marriage equality referendum, describing it as “truly historic moment”.

“This is a truly historic moment: Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve marriage equality in a nationwide referendum,” Ban said on Sunday after he accepted the Tipperary International Peace Award in Ballykisteen, south Ireland’s County Tipperary.

“The result sends an important message to the world: All people are entitled to enjoy their human rights no matter who they are or whom they love,” he said.

Ireland on Saturday approved same-sex marriage with 1.2 million people voting in its favor. On Friday, Ireland voted in a referendum — whether the Constitution should be changed so as to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

He also said the peace award pays tribute to him but also to the work of the UN.

Ban is given the peace award for his role in tackling climate change, global conflicts and natural disasters. Previous recipients of the award include Nelson Mandela and former Irish president Mary McAleese.

It is the first of the UN chief’s engagements in Ireland. Over the next two days, he will deliver a keynote address in Dublin, touching on Ireland’s role in international peacekeeping.