Michelle Bachelet of Chile figures to be next United Nations human rights chief

10 Août, 2018, 01:50 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Michelle Bachelet was nominated this week to head the U.N. human rights agency

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (center) speaks during a dialogue with women's groups and young women leaders in Quezon City in 2015.

Diplomats say secretary general Antonio Guterres has chosen Chile's former president Michelle Bachelet to be the next United Nations human rights chief, a high-profile and often controversial job.

The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must be confirmed by the 193-member UN General Assembly.

The daughter of an air force general, she was a medical student when Marxist President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup in September 1973. Following months of torture, her father died of cardiac arrest in March 1974.

She was the first female president of Chile, from 2006-2010, and was then tapped by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to be the first head of UN Women, which was created in July 2010 by the General Assembly to combine four UN bodies dealing with gender equality and the advancement of women under a single umbrella.

In 2013, Bachelet returned to Chile to run for president again and was elected and served a second term in 2014-2018.

If Bachelet's appointment is approved by the vote of the UN General Assembly, she will take the place of Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the Jordanian royal who earned Duterte's ire by being critical of the Philippine government's campaign against illegal drugs.

"We do not bring shame on governments, they shame themselves", he said.

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Zeid said the pressure of the human rights job was intense. "People worldwide will depend on her to be a public and forceful champion, especially where offenders are powerful".

Zeid told reporters in NY earlier this month that he did not seek a second term because he did not believe he would have the support of key world powers, including the United States, China and Russian Federation.

"So I think the election of this new High Commissioner for Human Rights must be a result of compromise, and we are optimistic that we will have better relations with the new High Commissioner for Human Rights".

He said he will give his successor the same advice that his predecessor, Navi Pillay, gave him: "Be fair and don't discriminate against any country" and "just come out swinging".

Zeid has faced criticism from many quarters for being too outspoken.

Israel's United Nations ambassador, Danny Danon, welcomed Zeid's impending departure, saying in a statement Wednesday that Zeid "never missed a chance to invent falsehoods and lies when it comes to Israel".

"Well, I would say that the entire community of states perhaps elected her for a reason, noting that no less than the U.S. has opted to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council", Roque also said.

She said the council also failed to address "extreme human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere, in Venezuela and Cuba in particular", or "major human rights crises" in Iran, North Korea and Congo.

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