Global Rights Watch (GRW) sent an open letter, along with 60 rights organisations, to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about the appointment of the next high commissioner for human rights.
The letter appealed for the next UN rights chief to be appointed through a swift, open process, calling for a “courageous” nominee to stand up to powerful countries.
The letter stressed that the appointment should be “open, transparent and merit-based,” that it should involve consultations with independent rights organisations and activists.
It further insisted it was “imperative that this process move quickly”.
“The high commissioner’s role is to be the world’s leading human rights advocate, as distinct from the role of a diplomat or political envoy,” the letter reads.
The letter insisted that the position of UN rights chief was “critical… particularly at a time when human rights standards and mechanisms face enormous pressure from powerful governments”.
The post “requires a human rights champion who is courageous and principled”, it further said.
Contrary to other UN agencies like the World Heath Organisation and the International Labour Organisation, where member states elect the leader, the High Commissioner for Human Rights is appointed by the UN Secretary-General.