Shortlist of three confirmed

The SG is informing diplomats that there is a shortlist of three people –

Navanethem Pillay

Hina Jiliani

Juan Mendez

Pillay is still believed to be the favourite of the SG’s team; Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador, is said to be pushing for his own candidate – Sima Samar, from Afghanistan.

Is this official sharing of the names the long-promised transparency? Appointment to be announced next week.

This is a letter on the issue from the Turkish mission to the UN


1 Comment

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One response to “Shortlist of three confirmed

  1. Nebfem

    It is good to see that the Secretary-General’s recruitment process has come up with three candidates with the right kind of substantive background and integrity to fill this position. Both Juan Mendez and Hina Jilani have been imprisoned for their human rights work; Ms. Pillay has conducted work in the very difficult environment of apartheid south africa. All three deserve considerable respect for their past contributions to human rights.

    However, this position, arguably the most important in the UN after that of Secretary-General, requires a person with great political skill and vision. Hina Jilani has shown, through her activism at grass roots level and her advocacy toward the most senior levels of Government that she has both political skills and vision. She is held in high respect among many Governments and civil society alike, no mean achievement. She is of unquestioned independence. She is a person of absolute integrity and principle who is also able to appreciate and work with political realities, but who will fight for the issues that are most important. And, she is a moslem and from Asia (Pakistan). At a time when tensions and fault lines have emerged Worldwide between so-called islamic and western values, and where radicalism on all sides is a key charactersitic of human rights violations the appointment of a moslem woman, from Asia, as High Commissioner for Human Rights would be a very strategically and symbolically important step.

    Without in any way detracting from their very valuable work, Mr. Mendez and Ms. Pillay would not bring the same skill-set. Ms. Pillay’s expertise is heavily slanted toward legal expertise – very important to the Office of the High Commissioner, but not something that can drive the Office’s policy or vision. Juan Mendez brings tremendous commitment and integrity but does not have the experience of the UN on the ground or of Africa and Asia where the High Commissioner’s most challenging demands will emerge and similarly would not bring the same vision. In contrast, Ms. Jilani’s sense of political and human rights movements, including on human rights and terrorism and counter-terrorism, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the UN, would be invaluable. She has received accolades from US Presidents, European Parliaments, and Asian Governments, but has not flinched at giving critical constructive comments on the human rights actions of those that offer her praise. She has great compassion, has been a tireless advocate of women’s rights since her childhood (as recounted in biographies) and understands well the dynamics of Government and the separation of powers. She would be a great asset to the Secretary-General, to the UN, to the human rights movement, and even to Member States at the UN.

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