Michelle Bachelet is the new UN Human Rights Chief

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  • Thu, 08/09/2018 - 10:49
  • EFE

By: Mario Villar


The former president of Chile Michelle Bachelet will be the next UN Human Rights chief, a position considered to be one of the most complex in the world and the usual object of criticism and pressure from the governments.

According to what was said today to EFE’s diplomatic sources, Bachelet was elected by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, to replace Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein’s seat.

The Jordanian diplomat finished his four-year term at the end of this month and announced last December that he would not opt for reelection.

For now, the UN has not wanted to make the official appointment of Bachelet, waiting to complete the necessary procedures, but her name has already been transferred to the representatives of the member states, according to diplomatic sources.

Farhan Haq, a spokesman for Guterres, told reporters today that the process is "nearing its conclusion" and said that "soon" an official notification will be sent to the General Assembly.

That body, in which the 193 member states of the organization sit, must approve the appointment.

For this, once Guterres' proposal has been received, the General Assembly must convene a meeting in order to give its approval.

The process is traditionally a mere formality and it is usual that the proposal of the Secretary General of the sea is accepted by all with acclamation without the need for a vote.

Once confirmed, Bachelet will take charge of the UN's great human rights machine, with headquarters in the Swiss city of Geneva.

The high commissioner, at the moment, has distinguished himself during his term to be very hard with governments and leaders who in his opinion violate the rights of their citizens.

That belligerent tone cost him strong attacks from the States, with some like Hungary openly calling for his resignation, and with leaders like the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, hurling insults at him.

Zeid has also been very critical, among others, with US President Donald Trump, and with European leaders who use a xenophobic discourse with immigrants.

"We do not put governments to shame, they shame themselves when they deprive people of basic needs, when they discriminate against the parts of their communities, when they stir up fear ...", the diplomat defends himself last week in a meeting with journalists.

The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) stressed today that, if confirmed, Bachelet will assume "one of the most difficult jobs in the world at a time when human rights are under attack."

In a statement, the executive director of HRW, Kenneth Roth, stressed that the Chilean former head of state has "a unique perspective" on the defense of human rights, that the same victim of torture during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

"People all over the world depend on her being a strong public defender, especially when those responsible are powerful," Roth said.

The Association of United Nations-United Kingdom, a British NGO that promotes the workforce of the UN, received Bachelet as a "solid choice" for the position, highlighting her experience in the organization and her work with civil society.

The Chilean former president was the first executive director of UN Women between 2010 and 2013 and her name came to appear in some pools as a possible general secretariat, before the election of Guterres.

Currently, she maintains an international partnership with the organization as a consultant and leads the health of mothers, newborns and children.

The socialist leader was president of Chile in two periods, between 2006 and 2010 and between 2014 and March of this year.


Source: EFE

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