Chile’s Bachelet chosen to be next UN human rights chief
NY Times: The leader of the United Nations said that he had picked Michelle Bachelet, a prominent women’s rights advocate and the first woman to serve as Chile’s president, to be the organization’s next top human rights official.
The announcement by Secretary General António Guterres ended the uncertainty over who would replace Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince and longtime diplomat who became one of the most forthright critics of abuses by governments in many countries, including the United States, during his four years as the high commissioner for human rights.
Mr. al-Hussein said in December that he would not be seeking an extension of his term, which expires next month. He told colleagues that “to do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication.”
Ms. Bachelet, 66, who was imprisoned and tortured during Chile’s right-wing dictatorship and years later became a pediatrician and politician, will be stepping into a particularly difficult and contentious role at the 193-member organization.
Efforts to reach Ms. Bachelet in Chile were not immediately successful.
The change comes as the Trump administration has taken an increasingly dim view of human rights diplomacy at the United Nations. The administration withdrew from the Human Rights Council in June, partly over the frequent criticism of Israel and other actions that the administration described as two-faced.
After Mr. al-Hussein’s office criticized the White House over the practice of separating children from parents to deter undocumented immigrants, Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador, angrily accused it of ignorance and hypocrisy.