You are here: TRACKER: How long will the next human rights chief have to prepare for the job?

This page is part of our campaign to find the best High Commissioner for Human Rights. Back to the campaign hub.

How does this process match up to previous appointments? Measured as the number of days between their approval by the General Assembly and their start date as High Commissioner, UNA-UK takes a look at how long each of the seven candidates had to prepare:


21 days: Michelle Bachelet (Appt 10 August 2018, start: 1 Sept 2018)

34 days: Navanethem Pillay (Appt 28 July 2008, start: 1 Sept 2008)

51 days: Sergio Vieira de Mello (Appt: 23 July 2002, start: 12 Sept 2002)

51 days: Jose Ayala-Lasso (Appt: 14 Feb 1994, start: 5 April 1994)

76 days: Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein (Appt: 16 June 2014, start: 1 Sept 2014)

87 days: Mary Robinson (Appt: 17 June 1997, start: 12 Sept 1997)

126 days: Louise Arbour (Appt: 25 Feb 2004, start: 1 July 2004)

The process to select the next High Commissioner for Human Rights was launched on 11 June, leaving just 10 weeks to complete the process. Given that UN's standard notice period for permanent staff is three months, it is surprising that the deadline for applications (11 July) was less than two months from the start date (1 September). Michelle Bachelet was appointed by the General Assembly on 10 August, leaving just three weeks for her to prepare for the role. We will continue to ask questions as to whether the process included sufficient time to complete a rigorous recruitment process.

See UNA-UK's transparency checklist for more info