Responding to the announcement of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s retirement from active public life on the occasion of his 79th birthday, Shadow International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said:
“Desmond Tutu was the Bishop who laughed in the face of evil. He is truly one of the remarkable greats of humanity. His retirement today should be marked with both celebration of his incredible life of work, and also a little sadness.
“But if Tutu’s example continues to inspire, as it will undoubtedly do so, then we need not worry about him personally taking the well-deserved chance to slow down.
“His compassion, passion and thirst for justice – whether in the fight against apartheid, against poverty, or for peace and understanding, have rarely been matched in human history.
“His faith that justice and oppression can and will be overcome, and that the righteous will prevail, should continue to be an inspiration to campaigners and activists worldwide, even when faced with the world of troubles we still find ourselves in. That faith is needed now more than ever.
“Tutu once exhorted us, in a plea for humanity and the recognition of both moral and physical interdependence: “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
“We must all now take forward his fight for the justice which alone can realise that common humanity.”