10 Aug 2018
Michelle Bachelet appointed next UN human rights chief

The IRCT welcomes the appointment of Michelle Bachelet as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Michelle Bachelet appointed next UN human rights chief

UN Photo/Pierre-Michel Virot: Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, addresses the Special Meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ms Bachelet’s appointment sends a strong message to all those who have suffered from human rights violations that the UN will support them by urging governments to repair the damage and to build a future where everyone can enjoy their human rights.

As a paediatrician, former Health Minister, ex-Head of UN Women, two-time President of Chile, refugee and survivor of torture, Ms Bachelet brings a unique combination of skills and lived experiences that make her uniquely well suited to lead the UN human rights agency through unsettling times.

Ms Bachelet is a long-time friend of the IRCT and supporter of the torture rehabilitation movement. In a video address to the IRCT in 2016 she stated that, “Any [anti-torture] strategies we adopt are incomplete if we do not recognise the centrality of the victims and of the need for holistic rehabilitation that aims to revert the damage caused.”

The IRCT firmly believes that this understanding must be central to any future UN strategy on human rights. “We live in a time when the idea of human rights is challenged in all corners of the world. In this context, it is crucial that the lived experiences and expressed needs of each individual victim are brought forward to insist that the very purpose of human rights is to protect every individual against the will of the majority. It is not something that can be made subsidiary to other political priorities.” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary General.

The IRCT would like to thank the outstanding contribution of the outgoing High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who has worked tirelessly to speak up for and champion the cause of victims. “We hope that Ms Bachelet can build on Mr Al Hussein’s legacy and look forward to supporting her by bringing the unique experiences of the IRCT’s 160 members to the table,” concluded Mr Madrigal-Borloz.

For more information

Watch Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein’s address to the IRCT here:

“We live in a time when the idea of human rights is challenged in all corners of the world. In this context, it is crucial that the lived experiences and expressed needs of victims are brought forward to insist that the very purpose of human rights is to protect every individual against the will of the majority. It is not something that can be made subsidiary to other political priorities.”

- Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary General

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