POLITICS

Former president Bachelet nominated for Human Rights High Commissioner

SANTIAGO – Last Friday, Former president Michelle Bachelet was appointed as High Commissioner for Human Rights post at the United Nations. For the second time, Bachelet had been offered the post. As victim of human rights violations and as former Chilean president, Bachelet was offered the post for the first time in March.  

Aside from Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s decision of not to postulate again for the position, Bachelet’s good performance in matters of human rights had made her candidate for the High Commissioner at the United Nations (UN). As former director of UN Women, an organization dedicated to fight for the rights of women, Bachelet showed the UN she was a good option to occupy the seat.

António Guterres, the general secretary of the United Nations, announced that Chile’s former president Michelle Bachelet is the person to occupy the chair in replacement of the Jordan Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Bachelet hadn’t ruled out her acceptance of the call the UN made her to become the high commissioner the first time. This time, Bachelet remarked that she feels honored by the trust put on her, and also she announced that on September she will start developing as high commissioner.

“She assumes the charge in a moment of serious consequences for human rights. Hatred and inequality are increasing, the respect for the humanitarian international right is more urgent than ever, and human rights are being violated. To face these matters, we need a strong defender of human rights: civilian, political, economic, social, and cultural” Guterres said.

As part of her new position, former president Bachelet will have to continue her fights for human rights, carrying on an important public exposition and also maintaining a relationship with the most representative countries of the world. In addition, Bachelet will have to move to Geneva, Switzerland for about 4 years, which is the office term duration.

Bachelet tortured

The first female president of Chile experienced human rights violations from first hand, when she was tortured during Augusto Pinochet’s presidential term. After being detained in 1975, the former president was psychologically tortured, and also hit by the police, though she declared she wasn’t “grilled” (a term used to refer to an electrocution torture method).

Her father, General Alberto Bachelet was also detained, as he remained faithful to Salvador Allende’s government. He died at the prison in 1974, after suffering from wounds due to the torturing. “Thousands of people passed through the Villa Grimaldi detention center in Santiago, 236 were executed or remain disappeared. I was lucky in comparison with many others, many of them died” Bachelet said.

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