Michelle Bachelet
Michelle Bachelet Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has nominated former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to be the next human rights chief, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that Guterres has informed the General Assembly of the nomination for high commissioner of human rights.

Bachelet served as president of Chile twice, from 2006-10 and from 2014-18. Between those terms, she was executive director of the UN body for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Her nomination will now go to the UN General Assembly for approval.

If she is elected for the position, she will replace the current High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who chose not to seek another term in office. Al Hussein was known for his fiery rhetoric, particularly against U.S. President Donald Trump, who he once compared to the Islamic State. He was also critical of Israel.

The U.S., which is pushing back against the ongoing anti-Israel at the UN, last month announced its withdrawal from the Human Rights Council, with Ambassador Nikki Haley deriding it as a “cesspool of political bias.”

While the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and the HRC are separate bodies, they work together in promoting the UN’s agenda on human rights, noted Fox News.

Haley commented on Wednesday on the nomination of Bachelet, saying, “The United States withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council in part because of the Council’s consistent failure to address extreme human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere, in Venezuela and Cuba in particular. The failures of the Human Rights Council make the Secretary-General’s selection of a new High Commissioner for Human Rights all the more important.”

She said it was incumbent on Bachelet “to avoid the failures of the past” and added, “The UN has failed to adequately address major human rights crises in Iran, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere, or stop its chronic, disproportionate obsession with Israel. It is up to Ms. Bachelet to speak out against these failures rather than accept the status quo. We hope that she does. The United States will.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, also responded to Bachelet’s nomination and welcomed the end of Al Hussein’s term in office.

“The outgoing commissioner, Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein of Jordan, never missed a chance to invent falsehoods and lies when it comes to Israel,” said Danon. “From many of his statements, you would be forgiven for thinking he considered Hamas a welfare, not a terrorist, organization. During his tenure, the HRC became a theater of the absurd, with hypocrisy and double standards rampant among its proceedings and reports.”

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