Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Nomination of Michelle Bachelet for the Post of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

August 9, 2018

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights welcomes the nomination of Chilean Michelle Bachelet for the post of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres nominated Michelle Bachelet, who in 2006 became the first woman to hold the Presidency of Chile. After four years in office, she took office as the director of UN Women, a position she held from 2010 to 2013. Later, in 2014, she was re-elected President of Chile. The nomination must be ratified by the UN General Assembly on Friday, August 10.

"Michelle Bachelet was a victim of human rights violations during the Chilean dictatorship, and in her professional and personal life she has demonstrated an unrestricted commitment to the defense of human rights," said IACHR President, Commissioner Margarette Macaulay. "We applaud and celebrate this nomination of a Latin American woman for such an important position and wish her every success in her tenure," she added.

The first person to hold the position, from 1994 to 1997, was a Latin American, Ecuadorian José Ayala-Lasso. After a term of Mary Robinson, from Ireland, from 1997 to 2002, the Brazilian Sérgio Vieira de Mello took over in 2002 and was killed in an attack in Baghdad on 19 August 2003. Canadian Louise Arbour ran the Office from 2004 to 2008, and was succeeded by another woman, South African Navanethem Pillay, who held the position from 2008 to 2014. The Office is currently in the hands of Jordanian Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who announced that he would not stand for re-election.

"Michelle Bachelet will take office in a challenging international political context, with anti-rights movements trying to undermine and reverse the progress made in recent years, and with serious challenges to ensure adequate funding for international bodies in general, and human rights bodies in particular," said IACHR Vice President Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño. "From the IACHR, Michelle Bachelet will have our full support in order to advance in the protection and promotion of human rights for all people, without discrimination," he added.

The Second Vice President of the IACHR, Luis Ernesto Vargas, reaffirmed the IACHR's interest in always continuing to deepen cooperation between the two institutions, including joint actions, consultations and regular information exchange, as well as collaboration in the development of regulations and other activities, which was formalized in an agreement signed in 2014. "We congratulate former President Michelle Bachelet on her nomination and look forward to her taking office in order to initiate dialogues to deepen our joint efforts to respect and guarantee human rights.”

In addition, the IACHR Rapporteur on the rights of human rights defenders, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli, stated: "We reaffirm our commitment to move forward jointly and collaboratively in the defense of human rights, including in the implementation of the plan of joint actions launched in October 2017 in Montevideo to contribute to the protection of human rights defenders in the Americas".

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 177/18