Down on Deng?

Numerous NGO observers are suggesting that they will be rather disappointed if Francis Deng gets the job… one commentator, who said they were speaking for several others, claimed he “lacks the qualifications according to objective criteria.”

That is not to say NGOs don’t think he is a decent man, who has done good work – they acknowledge this. They just don’t feel he would provide the powerful voice they are looking for in this post.

Is this a fair assessment, or are his qualities being underplayed?

Mark

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Down on Deng?

  1. markyturner

    An unattributable comment received with regards to Mr Deng:

    Qualities that are essential for the next Commissioner are outspokenness, and the willingness and ability to confront States directly and publicly about their failings on human rights. These are qualities that Mr. Deng has publicly advocated against.

    His insistence on “quiet diplomacy” has been demonstrated for the past year in his position as the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide (SAPG). Further, without taking anything away from his good work on internally displaced persons, Deng also employed the quiet, polite, “back room” style in that role.

    It is the opposite approach of what the new HCHR needs to take. The qualifications and criteria that Ban laid out make this clear (“provide strong leadership,” a leader who will “unflinchingly champion the cause of respect for human rights,” etc).

    Furthermore, reliable sources told us weeks ago that “the 38th floor is aware that Deng hasn’t done much with his current position.”

  2. Nebfem

    Deng would make a dreadful High Commissioner for Human Rights. He lacks the analytical skills and commitment required for the position. In his current position he has accomplished very little, repeating the same platitudes in a series of speeches over the last year. It is well known that the large majority of progress accomplished under his tenure on IDPS was the result of the work of a committed staff, and a series of outside experts, who did all the conceptualising, strategising and substantive work. Deng uses his UN positions largely as a base from which to promote his own writings and teaching. He is essentially an academic who deserves credit for his research and writing, but who is very much out of place in a practitioner’s World where his lack of interest day to day human rights issues is evident. He would be a very poor choice as High Commissioner.

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