The UN General Assembly has approved Chile’s former president Michelle Bachelet as the next UN human rights chief by consensus.

With a bang of his gavel, Miroslav Lajcak, assembly president, on Friday gave official approval to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s selection of Bachelet. The UN’s 193 member states applauded.

Bachelet has been a victim of human rights abuses herself and is also a fierce advocate for women’s rights.

She was Chile’s first female president and the first head of the UN agency to promote gender equality, UN Women.

Bachelet and her mother were tortured after a 1973 coup led by right-wing general Augusto Pinochet ousted Marxist President Salvador Allende. Her father, Gen. Alberto Bachelet, was accused of treason and died of cardiac arrest after months of torture.

Bachelet’s predecessor, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, announced last December that he would not seek a second term.

“Next year will be the last of my mandate,” Zeid wrote in an email to his staff, which was subsequently obtained by a number of media organizations. “After reflection, I have decided not to seek a second four-year term. To do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy; lessening the independence and integrity of my voice — which is your voice.”




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