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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Excitement over new human rights post

The U.N. headquarters is getting charged up with what I am calling a bit of a frenzy, for a newly created top human rights post, the new assistant secretary-general for human rights position created by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in December.  According to Foreign Policy, human-rights groups and governments backed the creation of the post as a means to increase the profile of human rights at the UN decision-making policy level; the new rights official will serve as a liaison for the Geneva-based office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in deliberations in New York. Five candidates and their supporters are lobbying to hold the new position.

I do wonder, though, if this new position will live up to expectations. Will it allow human rights to adopt a more distinguished profile and make the UN more efficient and effective when it comes to human rights? Moreover, who will be the final candidate? The debate: will Ban "select a strong rights advocate for the position or will he chose a more discreet diplomatic operator who can prevent the post from generating controversy in an organization that includes many countries with poor rights record". Note a leaning/strong possibility for the latter.


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