<!-- IMAGE -->
Kenneth Bacon, a veteran
American journalist who as a senior government official during the 1999 Kosovo
war dedicated himself to helping refugees and other conflict victims, has died.
His passing stilled a voice for millions of the displaced around the world that
will be sorely missed.
A familiar figure in Washington known for his bow ties, easy manner and
commuting through busy city streets by bicycle, Mr. Bacon had a distinguished
career as a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal. The experience
served him well as the top spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department under
President Bill Clinton, where conflicts in Haiti and the Balkans dominated the
At the Pentagon, he saw first-hand the suffering of countless displaced
persons, and when a flood of Yugoslav refugees during the Kosovo conflict
threatened to overwhelm the international organizations caring for them, he
determined to do what he could to help. So after leaving government in 2001, he
agreed to head a Washington-based advocacy group, Refugees International,
dedicated to bringing attention to the plight of millions of the displaced.
Under Mr. Bacon's lead, the group doubled in size and pressed world leaders for
increased protection and aid for refugees in places as far flung as Sudan's
Darfur region, Iraq, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia.
Though suffering the late-stage skin cancer that eventually would kill him, Mr.
Bacon as recently as June testified before the U.S. Congress on conditions
facing internally displaced persons in Pakistan.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted Mr. Bacon's passing, saying the
world has lost a great humanitarian whose contributions were felt from Central
Africa to South Asia to the Americas. His countrymen long will be inspired by
the example that he set.