New UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet will give a widely anticipated speech Monday, with many eager for clues to how she will address rights crises around the world.
The former Chilean president will open the UN Human Rights Council’s September session as the body continues to reel from Washington’s decision three months ago to withdraw.
As other countries scramble to fill the leadership gap on a number of rights issues created by the US departure, the council will this session be grappling with topics including possible “genocide” in Myanmar and the crisis in Venezuela.
Diplomats and activists from around the world will gather in Geneva to hear Bachelet’s maiden speech and try to determine whether she will mimic the abrasive style of her predecessor, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, or stake out a softer approach to tackling the job.
Critics accused Zeid, a member of Jordan’s royal family, of being too confrontational with his often fierce criticism of world leaders and numerous calls for international investigations of rights violations in places like Syria, North Korea and Myanmar.
Some diplomats and UN insiders have suggested that UN chief Antonio Guterres appointed Bachelet in the hope she would tone down the criticism a bit to avoid losing support from powerful member states.