Victims' Rights Advocate
Jane Connors of Australia was appointed by Secretary-General António Guterres as the first Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations on 23 August 2017.
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. Prior to this appointment she was 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 the 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 in 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 Masters of Laws, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University.
'This role is to give a voice to the victims' - Jane Connors, Victims' Rights Advocate
28 February 2019 — For the first time since their designation in late 2017 as Field Victims’ Rights Advocates (FVRAs) to serve in the four countries from which most allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse had been reported — Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and South Sudan — , the FVRAs and the global United Nations Victims’ Rights Advocate (VRA) met together in Bangui, Central African Republic from 19 to 22 February 2019 to assess their achievements and the challenges that they face.
22 October 2018 — The UN is committed to recognizing the rights of victims of sexual exploitation by UN personnel but, when it comes to preventing and responding to abuse, there is a still “a long way to go, and many challenges to overcome,” says the UN’s first-ever Victims’ Rights Advocate Jane Connors.