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UN Human Rights Chief Selection Process Is Clear

Selection process for next UN human rights chief is clear and rigorous, Ban says

10 June 2008 - The selection process for the next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is clear and thorough and has already involved broad consultation with Member States, human rights groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson in response to media questioning about the transparency of the process to choose a successor to Louise Arbour, who steps down as High Commissioner at the end of this month, Mr. Ban said "the idea - circulated by some - that the process represents some sort of insider deal is absurd."

He said the standard procedures for senior appointments made by the Secretary-General have been followed at all times.

"Our goal from the outset has been to establish clear and rigorous selection standards and timelines and make out a list of candidates from the widest possible pool," the statement noted.

"This has been done by soliciting nominations from Member States, complemented by nominations addressed to the Secretary-General by a range of sources, including Member States and international non-governmental organizations, as well as human rights organizations."

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro and Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar met with members of the human rights community in New York recently to discuss the appointment and similar meetings are being held on an ongoing basis with Member States, Mr. Ban added.

A shortlist of candidates has been drawn up "after a thorough review process" and interviewed by a panel of senior officials, and they will soon be interviewed by Mr. Ban before he decides on a nomination to send to the General Assembly.

The names of the shortlisted candidates have not been publicly released to protect their privacy, the statement said, adding that it is not true that previous UN administrations had made it a practice to publicize shortlists of candidates for senior posts.

"This was not done in the case of Louise Arbour. The lists of candidates were disclosed in some selected cases involving the selection of the heads of some agencies, funds and programmes."

Ms. Arbour, a Canadian Supreme Court justice and ex-prosecutor of UN war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, assumed the post of High Commissioner in 2004 after her predecessor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed in a terrorist attack in Baghdad the previous August.

ENDS

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