UN assembly approves Chile′s Michelle Bachelet as rights chief | News | DW | 10.08.2018
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UN assembly approves Chile's Michelle Bachelet as rights chief

The two-term Chilean president will replace Jordan's Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, a sharp critic of Donald Trump's policies. This is not the first time Bachelet, a torture survivor, is taking a role at the world body.

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday unanimously confirmed the appointment of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as the organization's next human rights chief.

Bachelet, who was appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, will take over from Jordan's Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, who is stepping down as the UN high commissioner for human rights at the end of the month after a four-year term.

"She takes office at a time of grave consequence for human rights," Guterres told reporters moments after Bachelet's appointment was approved. He said "hatred and inequality are on the rise" in the world.

Bachelet, who was tortured under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, was Chile's first female president.

A fierce advocate for women's rights, Bachelet was the first head of UN Women, the UN agency to promote gender equality and empowerment of women.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein speaks during a news conference in Geneva

Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein has been an outspoken critic of US President Donald Trump's policies.

'Deep commitment to human rights'

Zeid, the outgoing human rights chief, welcomed Bachelet's appointment and praised her "deep commitment to human rights."

In his role, Zeid has been an outspoken critic of US President Donald Trump's policies and his attacks on the media.

He told reporters earlier this month that he did not seek a second term because he did not believe key world powers, including the United States, China, and Russia, would support him.

Washington has been critical of the UN for unfairly targeting the Israeli government.

"The UN has failed to adequately address major human rights crises in Iran, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere, or stop its chronic, disproportionate obsession with Israel," US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It is up to Ms. Bachelet to speak out against these failures rather than accept the status quo," Haley said.

In June, the United States withdrew from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, a separate body that works closely with the High Commissioner for Human Rights office, citing a bias against Israel and a lack of reform.

ap/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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