UN approves Austria’s Volker Turk as new human rights chief | News


The United Nations Basic Meeting has authorised the appointment of Austrian diplomat and veteran UN staffer Volker Turk as the brand new UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights to switch former commissioner Michelle Bachelet.

UN Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres had proposed that Turk succeed Bachelet, whose time period ended on August 31, and the UN’s 193-member meeting shortly authorised the appointment by consensus on Thursday.

Turk mentioned that he was “deeply honoured” to be appointed as the following Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights and that he felt “a deep sense of accountability” taking on his new function.

“Will give it my all to advance the guarantees of Common Declaration of Human Rights for everybody, all over the place”, Turk mentioned in a tweet on Friday.

The UN mentioned in a statement that Turk had an extended and distinguished profession within the development of human rights globally.

“Notably the worldwide safety of among the world’s most susceptible folks — refugees and stateless individuals,” the UN mentioned.

Turk had additionally beforehand served with the UN refugee agency in Malaysia, Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kuwait.

Most not too long ago working in Guterres’ workplace as under-secretary-general for coverage, Turk now faces the problem of coping with the follow-up to a UN rights workplace report on China’s systematic abuse of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

The long-delayed report, which acknowledged that the “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities within the area might represent crimes in opposition to humanity, was printed by Bachelet minutes earlier than her departure.

The Uyghur Human Proper Mission responded to Turk’s appointment by welcoming his new place and in addition urging that he robustly pursue the potential perpetration of crimes in opposition to humanity in Xinjiang.

“There needs to be no particular therapy for highly effective governments who commit probably the most severe human rights abuses,” the group’s govt director, Omer Kanat, said in a statement.

“The UN’s high human rights official must exhibit that he understands the gravity of the problems going through Uyghurs, and this needs to be mirrored in a powerful method to the Chinese language authorities,” Kanat mentioned in a press release.

The brand new UN human rights commissioner, the organisation added, must exhibit his independence and “name out highly effective actors, just like the Chinese language authorities, to cease abuses”.

China has vigorously denied any abuses in Xinjiang.

“It’s China’s hope that Mr Turk will lead the workplace in strictly abiding by the rules of objectivity, impartiality … and non-politicisation,” China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dai Bing informed the Basic Meeting on Thursday.

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN Lisa Carty additionally mentioned Turk “should function an impartial, neutral, and unwavering voice for human rights points around the globe”.

New York-based Human Rights Watch mentioned Turk should instantly observe up on Bachelet’s report on Uighurs and different Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, and he have to be able to name out human rights abuses in the USA and violations by US allies.

“Whether or not it’s confronting crimes in opposition to humanity in Xinjiang, battle crimes in Ukraine and Ethiopia, or racism in the USA, the rights chief’s only instruments are sturdy investigations and a powerful voice,” Human Rights Watch mentioned in a statement.

Different candidates for the job had included profession diplomat Federico Villegas from Argentina, and Senegal’s Adama Dieng, who beforehand suggested Guterres on genocide prevention.

Turk’s appointment additionally drew criticism.

Phil Lynch, govt director of the Worldwide Service for Human Rights, mentioned Turk’s choice had lacked transparency and session with impartial civil society.

“The Secretary-Basic missed a key alternative to construct the legitimacy and authority of the following Excessive Commissioner”, Lynch mentioned.

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