UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet says not seeking second term

GENEVA, Switzerland — UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet announced Monday that she will not seek a second term, ending months of speculation about her intentions amid growing criticism of her lax stance on rights abuses in China.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech at the opening day of the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva on June 13, 2022. UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet announced that she will not seek a second term, ending months of speculation about her intentions and amid growing criticism of her lax stance on rights abuses in China. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

“As my term as High Commissioner draws to a close, this Council’s milestone fiftieth session will be the last which I brief,” Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council as it opened a four-week sitting.

The 70-year-old former Chilean president, who will wrap up her four-year mandate at the end of August, had until now remained mum about whether she would seek to stay on for a second term.

The post of High Commissioner for Human Rights typically faces heavy political pressure from countries around the world, and while it can be held for a maximum of two terms, nearly all of Bachelet’s predecessors have avoided staying on for more than one term.

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