UN Human Rights Official to Step Down in September

Mary Robinson announced that she will not seek another term as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and will instead vacate the office when her appointment ends in September. Robinson has received criticism from the United States for a myriad of issues, including her human rights concerns stemming from the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Robinson called attention to the number of civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan and the treatment of prisoners under U.S. care at Guantanamo Bay. While the UN Secretary-General appoints the UN High Commission for Human Rights, member countries are allowed to make recommendations on the appointment. According to a Bush Administration official quoted in the New York Times, the U.S. “made clear, quietly, our views that [Robinson] shouldn’t be renewed.”

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, however, had glowing words for Robinson, a former president of Ireland. “She put human rights on the map, and she put lots of energy, creativity, and courage into very difficult work,” said Annan. “She has brought drive and application and integrity to the office, and she can leave in the full knowledge that she has made a major contribution.”


New York Times, 3/19/02

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