Michele Bachelet, Presidente of Chile speaks during Special Session of the Human Rights Council. 29 March 2017.

Former Chilean president becomes new UN Human Rights Chief

PNN/ Geneva/

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday warmly welcomed the UN General Assembly’s appointment of Michelle Bachelet to succeed him when his mandate comes to an end on 31 August 2018.

“I am truly delighted by the appointment of Michelle Bachelet as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Zeid said. “She has all the attributes – courage, perseverance, passion, and a deep commitment to human rights – to make her a successful High Commissioner. The UN Human Rights Office looks forward to welcoming her and working under her leadership for the promotion and protection of all human rights, for everyone, everywhere.”

Bachelet most recently served as President of Chile (from 2014 to 2018, and 2006 to 2010). She was the first Executive Director of UN-Women between 2010 and 2013. She has also served as Minister of Defence and Minister of Health in Chile. The UN General Assembly today approved the UN Secretary-General’s appointment of Bachelet for a four-year term as High Commissioner.

Michelle Bachelet will be the seventh High Commissioner since the Office was created in 1993. Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein has been in office since 1 September 2014. His predecessors are: José Ayala-Lasso (1994-97); Mary Robinson (1997-2002); Sergio Vieira de Mello (2002-03); Louise Arbour (2004-08); and Navi Pillay (2008-14).

The UN Human Rights Office has approximately 1,300 staff and collaborates with some 700 human rights officers embedded in UN peace missions or political offices. In total, we have a presence in 67 countries around the world, with our headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

  2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded.