Secretary-General António Guterres (right) swears in Volker Türk, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

Volker Türk nominated as UN human rights chief

GENEVA, September 8, 2022 —  United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will propose Austria’s Volker Türk to be the next High Commissioner for Human Rights, Reuters reported today.

Mr. Türk currently serves as UN Under-Secretary-General for Policy, after a career where he rose through the ranks at the UN Refugee Agency, which like the human rights office is based in Geneva. 

Mr. Türk holds a doctorate in international law from the University of Vienna and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Linz, Austria. He is fluent in English and French and has working knowledge of Spanish.

Other Candidates

Following is a list of other names that had been rumored or reported as potential candidates to become the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

• Federico Villegas — Ambassador of Argentina to the UN in Geneva, currently President of the Human Rights Council. (Source: Swiss Info & Reuters)

• Adama Dieng — Senegalese, Special Advisor Without Portfolio to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Previously served as Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and Registrar of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He was also the Secretary General of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists. (Source: Swiss Info & Reuters)

• Ilze Brands Kehris — Latvian, serves as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. Also served as an independent Expert Member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Chairperson of the Management Board of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency and other EU bodies. (Source: Geneva Solutions)

• Ahmed Shaheed — Former foreign minister of the Maldives. Mr. Shaheed was just relieved from his duty as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. He has previously served as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Source: The Diplomat)

• Yanghee Lee — South Korean academic, served as Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar. Also served as chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and chair of the Meeting of Chairpersons of Human Rights Treaty Bodies. (Source: The Diplomat)

• Marzuki Darusman — Indonesian, served as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea and as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea. He also chaired the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar. (Source: The Diplomat)

• Baroness Helena Kennedy — British, director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Initiative and human rights lawyer. (Source: The Diplomat)

• Edward Ndopu — South African, serves as UN Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, appointed by the Secretary-General focusing at the intersection of sustainability, disability, race, LGBTQI+ and social justice. (Sources: announcement by the candidate in Project Syndicate, Mail & Guardian)


UN Watch