UN: New High Commissioner must be a champion for the victims of human rights violations

Reacting to today’s expected appointment of Volker Türk as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s Secretary General, said:

“Volker Türk is being appointed to the UN’s top human rights role at a time of considerable threats to human rights around the world. Immediately, he has to help shape an effective human rights response and accountability for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, China’s persecution of millions of Uyghurs, and far too many forgotten crises, from Yemen to DRC to Myanmar and beyond. His agenda should also include strengthening the human rights response to climate change and rising inequality.

“His voice in defence of the victims of human rights violations around the world will need to be loud and clear. They count on him to stand up to human rights abusers, even when they are powerful states.

“We equally expect him to respect and support the role of civil society in informing and shaping human rights positions and responses.

“Amnesty International is looking forward to working with him in responding to the many existential threats and violations to human rights which the world is confronting.”


Volker Türk, an Austrian national, was previously the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Policy. His four-year mandate begins immediately, ahead of the 51st Human Rights Council Session, which opens on 12 September. He takes over from Chilean national Michelle Bachelet, who decided not to seek a second term. He is the ninth High Commissioner since the role was created in 1994.