Austria's Turk appointed UN human rights chief | Inquirer News

Austria’s Turk appointed UN human rights chief

/ 06:07 AM September 09, 2022
FILE PHOTO: Canadian Minister of Immigration John McCallum speaks with Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk (right) at an event on “Mobilizing a ‘Whole of Society’ Approach to Refugees”  during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Canadian Minister of Immigration John McCallum speaks with Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk (right) at an event on “Mobilizing a ‘Whole of Society’ Approach to Refugees” during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

GENEVA — The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday approved the appointment of Austria’s Volker Turk as the next U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Reuters reported earlier on Thursday that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had proposed that Turk succeed Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, whose term ended on Aug. 31. Turk currently works in Guterres’ office as under secretary-general for policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Turk’s most immediate challenge will be grappling with the follow-up to a report on China’s Xinjiang region published by his predecessor minutes before her departure.

The report found that China’s “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjiang region may constitute crimes against humanity.

FEATURED STORIES

China vigorously denies any abuses in Xinjiang.

“It is China’s hope that Mr Turk will lead the office in strictly abiding by the principles of objectivity, impartiality … and non-politicization,” China’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dai Bing told the General Assembly.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Lisa Carty said Turk “must serve as an independent, impartial, and unwavering voice for human rights issues around the world.”

“The high commissioner must be willing to call out human rights violations and abuses wherever they occur,” she said.

The high commissioner plays a critical role in speaking out against the backsliding of freedoms at a time when autocracies are gaining influence at the expense of democracy.

Other candidates for the job included career diplomat Federico Villegas from Argentina, and Senegal’s Adama Dieng, who previously advised Guterres on genocide prevention.

Phil Lynch, executive director of the International Service for Human Rights, said Turk’s selection had lacked transparency and consultation with independent civil society.

“The Secretary-General missed a key opportunity to build the legitimacy and authority of the next High Commissioner,” Lynch said.

RELATED STORY:
Rights group to UN Human Rights Council: Probe rights violations in PH

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: China, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Uyghurs
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2023 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.