On September 1, 2018 Michelle Bachelet assumed her functions as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in 1993 and Ms. Bachelet is the seventh Commissioner.
Ms. Bachelet was elected President of Chile on two occasions (2006 – 2010 and 2014 – 2018). She was the first female president of Chile, as well as Chile’s and Latin America’s first female Defense Minister (2000 – 2002). She also served as Health Minister (2002 - 2004).
During her presidential tenures, she promoted the rights of all but particularly those of the most vulnerable. Among her many achievements, education and tax reforms, as well as the creation of the National Institute for Human Rights and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights stand out, as do the establishment of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, the adoption of quotas to increase women’s political participation, and the approval of Civil Union Act legislation, granting rights to same sex couples and thus, advancing LGBT rights.
Since the early 1990s, Ms. Bachelet has worked closely with many international organizations. In 2010 she chaired the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, a joint International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, which sought to promote social policies to stimulate economic growth and social cohesion.
In 2011, she was named the first Director of UN Women, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of women and girls internationally. Economic empowerment and ending violence against women were two of her priorities during her tenure.
After finishing her second term in March 2018, she was named Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, an alliance of more than 1000 organizations in 192 countries from the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health communities. As Co-Chair of the High-Level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child, Ms. Bachelet launched Every Woman Every Child Latin America and the Caribbean the first platform for tailored, regional implementation of the EWEC Global Strategy.
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Robert Ayeda Kotchani has been working with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the past twelve years. In 1999, he started his international career as Legal Officer with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, The Gambia, where he worked for eight years. From 2006 to 2009, he worked for OHCHR in Uganda, where he opened the Karamoja regional office in Moroto (Northern Uganda).
He has subsequently worked in several country and regional offices of OHCHR, as Deputy Representative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Yaounde, Cameroon, as well as in Bujumbura, Burundi, where in 2014/15, he led as Acting Representative of the High Commissioner the transition from the United Nations for Burundi (BNUB) to the OHCHR country office in Burundi. Mr. Kotchani’s most recent position was Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in Libreville, Gabon.
Mr. Kotchani holds an LLM in International Law and an LLB in English, both obtained from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin.
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