Michelle Bachelet Appointed New UN Human Rights Chief

Michele Bachelet, Presidente of Chile speaks during Special Session of the Human Rights Council. 29 March 2017. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
Michele Bachelet, President of Chile speaks during Special Session of the Human Rights Council. 29 March 2017. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

After a vote on Friday by the United Nations General Assembly in New York, former two-time President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, has officially been appointed as High Commissioner for Human Rights, effective from 1 September.

The UN chief Antonio Guterres told reporters that he was delighted with the appointment of Michelle Bachelet as the UN human rights chief.

Highlighting her role as the first leader of UN Women, between 2010 and 2013, he said she gave “that new entity a dynamic and inspiring start”. He also pointed to her remarkable career as “the first woman to serve as the country’s President, but also as a survivor of brutality by the authorities targeting her and her family, many decades ago”.

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“She has lived under the darkness of dictatorship,” he continued. “As a physician, she knows the trials of people thirsting for health and yearning to enjoy other vital economic and social rights. And she knows the responsibilities of both national and global leadership”.

Following the announcement, Ms. Bachelet said she was “deeply humbled and honored” to have been entrusted with “this important task.”

Her predecessor in this position, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who took on the role in September 2014 and who Mr. Guterres described as having served with “leadership, passion, courage and skill” for the past four years, also warmly welcomed her appointment.

The UN chief paid special tribute to Zeid, who is stepping down after one term as the key UN voice on global human rights at the end of this month, saying that he wished “to express my deep gratitude to my good colleague and friend.”

Michelle Bachelet will be the seventh High Commissioner since the office was created in 1993. The High Commissioner, is the principle official who speaks out for human rights across the whole UN system.

Courtesy: UN

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