Bachelet, who earlier expressed concerns about India having to suffer cross-border terrorism, is seen in New Delhi as fair and objective observer.
New Delhi: India is watching closely as former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, herself a victim of torture and abuse under General Pinochet’s regime, is appointed the new High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
Outgoing human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, only a few weeks ago, had severely rapped India on the knuckles when the UNHRC released a report severely criticising the government of turning a blind eye to the human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir.
Under Hussein, the UNHRC also summoned several human rights rapporteurs to criticise the police firing on the Thoothukudi Sterlite plant, which was in the middle of an industrial dispute, in Tamil Nadu.
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This was an unprecedented first for the UN to involve itself into an industrial dispute and New Delhi was deeply unhappy about Hussein’s interference into India’s internal matters.
Several human rights rapporteurs also criticised India for not defending the freedom of speech and expression of journalist Rana Ayyub, who was subject to much abuse by right-wing trolls on social media.
Bachele, who visited India in 2009, expressed her concerns over the acts of cross-border terrorism that India has had to suffer. She is seen in New Delhi as a much fairer and objective observer of affairs.
At the time, Chile articulated its support for India’s claim for a permanent seat in the Security Council.
Bachelet’s selection as head of UNHRC came after a consensus vote in the 193 nation strong UN General Assembly Friday. She said she felt “deeply humbled and honored.”
Deeply humbled and honored to announce my acceptance as the @UN’s new High Commissioner for Human Rights. I thank Secretary General @antonioguterres and the General Assembly for entrusting me this important task.
— Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) August 10, 2018
Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres expressed his delight on her appointment. He tweeted saying, “Ms. Bachelet is a pioneer, a visionary, a woman of principle, and a great human rights leader for these troubled times.”
I am delighted that the United Nations General Assembly has approved Michelle Bachelet @mbachelet as our new human rights chief. Ms. Bachelet is a pioneer, a visionary, a woman of principle, and a great human rights leader for these troubled times.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 10, 2018
A member of Socialist Party of Chile, Bachelete has served as the President of Chile twice, first in 2006-10 and then in 2014-18. She also served as the minister of health and minister of defense in Chile.
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Under Dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule, she was tortured and interrogated for months as a result of which Guterres said that she “knows the trials of people thirsting for health and yearning to enjoy other vital economic and social rights. And she knows the responsibilities of both national and global leadership.”
A fair and objective external observer, coupled with an improved situation on the ground, would be a good combination.
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