Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Next High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Louise Arbour steps down in a few days as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her successor has yet to be named. One report suggests that the Secretary-General, who makes the appointment, will wait until the Durban 2 conference is out of the way, because of its potential to damage the new High Commissioner.
A few days ago, Human Rights Tribune (,1195+) reported ‘sources’ in Geneva saying ‘the panel named by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to audition candidates to succeed Louise Arbour as High Commissioner for Human Rights, has locked up its list. There are four names on the list: Louis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, the former President of the Human Rights Council and Mexico’s Ambassador in Geneva; Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, currently a judge at the ICC (International Criminal Court) and a former defense attorney for political prisoners during apartheid; Francis Deng of Sudan, currently a UN special advisor for the prevention of genocide and José Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of East Timor. The first two are said to be the favorites. If that is the case, I would say that Judge Pillay would have a better chance, if only because there has never been a High Commissioner for Africa or Asia, and there have been two each from Latin America and 'the north'.
And in the meantime, the Toronto Star has run a story saying that Louise Arbour is rumoured to be a candidate for the Liberal Party in the next Canadian election (

No comments: