Announcement by UNHCR: Mary Robinson, not to seek reappointment

The ICJ salutes Mary Robinson for her leadership and advocacy for human rights in the course of her term as UN Human Rights Commissioner.

It is a matter of great regret that that she will not seek a second term after her current four year appointment expires in September.

We share the High Commissioner’s concern that her Office is both under-resourced and understaffed. The Office currently receives only US $21 Million or around two percent of the regular UN Budget. The High Commissioner’s telling comment that she “can achieve more for human rights outside of the constraints that a multilateral organisation inevitably imposes” is a depressing indictment on the lack of political will by governments to match their human rights statements with the realities on the ground.

With the departure of Mary Robinson, the UN system will lose a valuable and effective player. Her success in raising the public profile of human rights has been outstanding.

The ICJ calls on the international community to ensure that the Office is adequately resourced to pursue its valuable mission for the protection of human rights. That mission should not, moreover, be obstructed by political interests inconsistent with human rights law.

The ICJ also calls on the international community to ensure that the selection process for the appointment of a new High Commissioner be transparent. That process should place a premium on effective advocacy for human rights and a demonstrated capacity for leadership.

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