United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Jane Connors of Australia as the first Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations.
The Secretary-General in his report on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach”, pledged that the United Nations will put the rights and dignity of victims at the forefront of its efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse. As Victims’ Rights Advocate, Ms. Connors will support an integrated, strategic response to victim assistance in coordination with United Nations system actors with responsibility for assisting victims. She will work with Government institutions, civil society, and national and legal and human rights organizations to build networks of support and to help ensure that the full effect of local laws, including remedies for victims, are brought to bear.
Ms. Connors brings to the position a long and multi-faceted career in human rights advocacy, as well as human rights and humanitarian assistance in the academic, United Nations and civil society spheres. She is currently International Advocacy Director, Law and Policy, for Amnesty International in Geneva. Prior to that, she was Director of the Research and Right to Development Division at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In 2002 she joined OHCHR, where she worked in the Human Rights Treaties Division and as Chief of the Special Procedures Branch. From 1996 and 2002, she was Chief of the Women’s Rights Section in the Division for the Advancement of Women in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York.
Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Connors was a law teacher at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, the Universities of Lancaster and Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, and the University of Canberra and the Australian National University in Australia.
Ms. Connors holds a Master of Laws, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University.