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The UN General Assembly on Thursday approved veteran Austrian diplomat Volker Turk to be the global body’s human rights chief, The Associated Press reported.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres nominated Turk, his top policy chief, late Wednesday and the 193-member assembly quickly approved the appointment by consensus.

Turk, who holds a doctorate in international law from the University of Vienna, worked for the UN high commissioner for refugees around the world, including in Malaysia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Congo and Kuwait, before serving in key positions at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.

From 2015 to 2019 he was assistant high commissioner for protection where he focused on developing the Global Compact on Refugees.

From 2019 until January 2022, Turk served as assistant secretary-general for strategic coordination in Guterres’ office. The UN chief then appointed him as undersecretary-general for policy in his executive office.

Turk will replace Michelle Bachelet as high commissioner for human rights, based in Geneva. Bachelet, who left office just last week, was known for being critical of Israel.

A day before her term concluded, Bachelet blasted Israel for failing to issue or renew visas for her staff to monitor the human rights situation in Palestinian Authority-assigned territories, asserting this raised questions as to what Israel was "trying to hide".

Several weeks earlier, Bachelet expressed "alarm" at the number of Palestinian Arabs killed during conflicts with Israeli forces in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza this year.

In particular, she noted the 19 Arab children who were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn, while failing to mention that most civilians in Gaza during that time were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets that missed their targets.

Bachelet had previously denounced plans by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, calling the move “illegal”, and warning it could spark a new wave of violence in the region.

“Annexation is illegal. Period,” Bachelet said at the time.