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Report Gives Mixed Reviews on UN Rights Chief’s First Year

GENEVA, September 12, 2019 — A new study on Michelle Bachelet’s performance in her first year as the UN’s top human rights official, presented today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, gives the former Chilean president mixed reviews on confronting the world’s worst violators of human rights. Click here for PDF of the report.

The report finds that the UN human rights chief has been outspoken on many pressing situations, but that she failed to issue any statements for victims in 20 countries having some of the world’s most egregious human rights records, including Algeria, Belarus, Congo, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Mauritania, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

The report by UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights NGO that monitors the United Nations, is the first of its kind to review the tenure of the current UN high commissioner for human rights. The study covered all of Bachelet’s press releases, op-eds, UN speeches, and public lectures that are published on her UN website.

“The report amounts to a B-minus for Bachelet,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “The data shows that she has rightly taken on numerous non-democracies, however it is troubling that millions of victims suffering from such gross abusers of human rights as Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea and Zimbabwe, are going ignored by the UN’s top human rights official. We hope this report will be a wake-up call.”

In comparison with her predecessor Jordanian Prince Zeid, who served from 2014 to 2018, UN Watch found that on average Zeid issued 281 statements per year, while Bachelet only issued 189 statements since she began her term in September 2018.

On average, Zeid spoke out more than Bachelet on North Korea, DRC, Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan, and The Philippines. However, Bachelet demonstrated greater willingness than Zeid to speak out for victims in Sudan, Venezuela, and Guatemala.

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