Beleaguered UN human rights chief will not seek second term

Bachelet's visit to China in May was widely criticised by human rights groups. © Keystone/ Valentin Flauraud
This content was published on June 13, 2022

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, says she will not seek re-election for another term, but denied the decision was motivated by criticism of her recent controversial visit to China.

Bachelet made her announcement at the end of a speech to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on Monday.

Bachelet said her decision was motivated by a desire to spend more time with her family in Chile and that she had informed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres two months' ago.

Several countries and a host of NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, had criticised Bachelet for failing to challenge Beijing for alleged abuses against UyghursExternal link and other minority groups during a trip to China last month.

During her speech on Monday, Bachelet said an updated assessment of the human rights situation in China would be released before she steps down in August.

UN Secretary General Guterres paid tribute to Bachelet who “has been on the frontlines of the human rights struggle all her life. She has moved the needle in an extremely challenging political context – and she has made a profound difference for people around the globe.”

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