De Lima optimistic on Bachelet’s appointment as UN rights chief

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed confidence in the recent appointment of former Chile president Michelle Bachelet as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights succeeding Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan.

De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, said she has high hopes in the appointment of Bachelet because the latter is known to be a strong defender of human rights and social justice.

“Like her predecessor, Bachelet promises to be fearless and uncompromising in the defense of human rights and in the fight against human rights violators,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 360.

The United Nations General Assembly in New York has recently appointed Bachelet, the first woman to serve as Chile’s president, as High Commissioner for Human Rights, effective on Sept. 1.

After the announcement of her appointment, Bachelet reportedly said she was “deeply humbled and honoured” to have been entrusted with “this important task.”

De Lima, a former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, said Bachelet is an ideal figure to occupy the UN High Commissioner post especially because of her experience and knowledge concerning human rights.

“I expect her to be unyielding in her convictions. She will not be easily intimidated by the world’s dictators and tyrants like Duterte,” she said.

Political pundits have claimed that Bachelet is no stranger to human rights issues. The next U.N. human rights chief and her family were victims of human rights violations under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

“[Bachelet] also suffered arbitrary detention, torture, and exile,” De Lima recalled. “Despite this, she went on to join the fight for the restoration of democracy in Chile, and eventually become its first woman President.”

As a single mother of three and a moderate socialist politician, Bachelet has also been a pioneer for women and women’s rights.

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