Former Chile president appointed UN human rights chief

UN Secretary-General António Guterres [official profile] announced [UN report] Wednesday that former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet will succeed Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website].

Bachelet completed her second four-year term as the Chilean president earlier this year. Upon her initial election in 2006, she became the first female to assume the Chilean presidency. A number of commentators [Reuters report] have noted that Bachelet will be assuming the head human rights position after herself falling victim to a number of human rights violations in the form of torture under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

During her presidency, Bachelet focused on welfare programs, strengthening and stabilizing Chilean economic growth, tax reform, same-sex marriage and the broadening of Chilean abortion laws.

Zeid previously indicated to a number of reporters in New York that he would not seek another term in the position as he was skeptical he would garner support from a number of the world’s leading powers, including the US. Recently, Zeid has been a vocal critic [NYT report] of the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their families when suspected of crossing the border illegally.

Bachelet will assume the role shortly after Zeid steps down at the end of the month.

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