Vieira de Mello, who led UN’s East Timor mission, approved for top human rights post

Vieira de Mello, who led UN’s East Timor mission, approved for top human rights post

Sergio Vieira de Mello
The United Nations General Assembly today approved Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposal to appoint Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian national who had helped to guide East Timor to independence, as the world body’s next High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. Vieira de Mello, who will succeed Mary Robinson of Ireland in the organization’s top human rights post, will begin his four-year term on 12 September.

The Assembly also acted on another recommendation by the Secretary-General, electing Anna Tibaijuka as Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) at the Under-Secretary-General level. The appointment is for a four-year term effective 1 September.

In other news, the Assembly adopted a resolution granting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accreditation to the Ad Hoc Committee established to Consider Proposals for a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention to Promote and Protect the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.

Accreditation was granted to NGOs that have consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council and also to other NGOs on a “non-objection” basis. Accredited groups will be permitted to participate in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee.

The Assembly also agreed to ask the Secretary-General to make reasonable efforts to facilitate the participation by persons with disabilities in meetings and deliberations of the Ad Hoc Committee.

According to the text adopted by the Assembly, such efforts could include facilitating entry for individuals assisting persons with disabilities and holding meetings in rooms that are more easily accessible. Other measures might include issuing documents prior to meetings so that they can be converted into an appropriate format and instituting measures that would enable persons with hearing disabilities to participate in the Ad Hoc Committee’s deliberations.

The Committee is scheduled to meet from 29 July to 9 August at UN Headquarters in New York.