28 July 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he was “gratified” that his nomination of South African judge Navanethem Pillay as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had today been endorsed by the General Assembly. Mr. Ban reiterated his commitment to ensuring that human rights remain high on the agenda of the Organization, in a statement released by his spokesperson. He said that he expected that the new the new High Commissioner would preserve the independence of her Office, and maintain effective working relations with the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the human rights community in general.Ms. Pillay will succeed Louise Arbour of Canada, who completed her five-year term on 30 June.Since 2003, Ms. Pillay has served as a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague in the Netherlands. Prior to that, she served – as both Judge and President – on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which she joined in 1995.The Secretary-General said that he was determined to give Ms. Pillay his full support, including with increased financial and human resources, as approved by the General Assembly.
United Nations Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi announced today that Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar, the current head of Iraq’s Governing Council, will be President of the interim government that will take over from the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) at the end of the month.That position had been offered to former Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi but he declined for personal reasons, said Mr. Brahimi, who has been in the country since early May meeting with a broad spectrum of Iraqis to help them agree on the administration that will inherit sovereignty on 30 June and guide the country until elections are held in January 2005.He also announced the appointment of Ibrahim Jaafari and Rowsch Shaways as deputy presidents. Mr. Brahimi said he had given his recommendations for the composition of the Cabinet to Prime Minister Designate Ayad Allawi, who was named on Friday. Mr. Allawi is expected to announce those later today.The envoy noted that his month-long consultations have involved the Governing Council, the CPA and “a very large number of representatives of the public, including political parties, professional associations, trade unions, tribal and religious leaders, academics and intellectuals, women’s and youth organizations, and others.”At a ceremony this morning in Baghdad unveiling the new interim government, Mr. Brahimi called the event “the first step of this road which will be, no doubt, long and difficult.”I believe that those who were chosen to perform this mission will be qualified and effective and capable for it,” he added.The envoy also told those present that he did not come to Iraq to work as an international civil servant. “I tried to work as one of you – a brother who believes in this country, a brother who loves this country, a brother who considers this country his, and looks forward to several visits in the future, not for work, but for meeting the brothers and the friends.”A UN spokesman reported that Mr. Brahimi is now working towards the establishment of a Preparatory Committee for a national conference. read more