Latvia's Ilze Brands-Kehris starts January as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights

On 6 December 2019, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, approved Ilze Brands-Kehris as his Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, the highest-ranking post in the UN structure ever held by someone from Latvia, according to a release from the ministry of foreign affairs.

"The decision by the UN Secretary-General attests to the outstanding professional qualities and international competitiveness of Latvian experts as well as reflecting the efforts devoted by the Latvian Foreign Service in promoting the candidates," the ministry said.

Ilze Brands-Kehris will head the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York as of January 2020. She will assist the High Commissioner in advancing the human rights agenda among United Nations departments and agencies, UN Member States, non-governmental organizations and the media.

Ilze Brands-Kehris is a human rights expert with more than twenty years of experience. She has served as Director of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (2002–2011) as well as occupying important posts at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2010–2012) and the Office of OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in The Hague (2011–2014). In June 2016, Ilze Brands-Kehris was elected, by a very convincing majority, to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the term of 2017–2020.

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