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John Hume: Nobel Peace Prize Winner dies following long period of illness

John Hume had played a major role in the peace talks which ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. He helped in creating a climate in Northern Ireland that brought an end to the troubles.

Aug 6, 2020 13:14 IST
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John Hume, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a prominent Northern Ireland politician passed away at the age of 83 on August 3, 2020, following a long period of illness.

John Hume was one of Northern Ireland’s highest-profile politicians for more than 30 years and in 1970, became a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). He led the party from 1979 until 2001.

Mr. Hume had played a major role in the peace talks which ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. He helped in creating a climate in Northern Ireland that brought an end to the troubles.

Political leaders all over the world paid their tribute:

As David Hume was widely admired for his commitment to the democratic and peaceful politics during the three decades of violence in Northern Ireland, political leaders around paid their tribute on Mr. Hume’s demise and recognized his work in bringing the peace deal.

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom (UK), who was in the office when the peace deal was signed stated that Mr. Hume was a visionary who refused to believe that the future has to be the same as the past. He further added that his contribution in bring peace to Northern Ireland will always be remembered.

Bill Clinton, Former United States President while remembering David Hume mentioned his long war for peace in Northern Ireland. Mr. Clinton mentioned that his chosen weapons were persistence, commitment to non-violence, kindness, and love.

Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, while paying his tribute acknowledged that Northern Ireland has lost a great man today who did so much to help bring an end to the troubles and build a better future for all.

Mr. Johnson added that Mr. Hume’s vision had paved the way for positivity, stability, and dynamism of the Northern Ireland of today.

What is the Good Friday Agreement?

The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement is a pair of agreements that were signed on April 10, 1998, which lead to the end of most of the violence of troubles, which was a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had been going on since the 1960s.

The present devolved system of government in Northern Ireland is based on this agreement which also served as a major development in the Northern Ireland Peace Process of the 1990s.

John Hume’s role in Good Friday Agreement:

John Hume took considerable risks for peace while holding talks with the then leader of Sinn Fein (the political wing of IRA), Gerry Adams, as IRA (Irish Republican Army) was still heavily involved in violence.

However, John Hume continued the dialogue with Sinn Fein, leading to the ‘Hume-Adam’ process which ultimately delivered the IRA ceasefire in 1994 and then later negotiations which resulted in the formation of Good Friday Agreement.

About John Hume:

John Hume was an Irish politician born on January 18, 1937, who has been regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland.

He was the founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and also served as a member of the European Parliament, a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and a Member of the UK Parliament.

Because of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, John Hume was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with David Trimble, the then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. Mr. Hume has also received both the Martin Luther King Award and Gandhi Peace Prize, making him the only person to receive all the three major peace awards. 

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