Secretary-General to appoint South African justice as next UN human rights chief

24 July 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ms. Pillay will succeed Louise Arbour of Canada, who completed her five-year term on 30 June.

Since 2003, Ms. Pillay has served as Judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Prior to that, she served – as both Judge and President – on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which she joined in 1995.

Mr. Ban's spokesperson said that Judge Pillay's nomination was made at the end of “an extensive selection process” which included consultations with Member States and with the broad-based non-governmental organization (NGO) community.

“The Secretary-General is committed to ensure that human rights remain high on the agenda of the Organization. He expects that the new High Commissioner will preserve the independence of her Office and will maintain effective working relations with the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council,” Michele Montas told journalists.

Mr. Ban is “determined to fully support Ms. Pillay in carrying out her work, including with increased resources, as approved by the General Assembly,” she added.


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