Secretary-General appointments; Human Rights Council; Libya; Women in Politics 2012 report; and more

SG appointments: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Jan Eliasson of Sweden, a veteran in the fields of diplomacy and foreign relations, as the new Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters, Mr. Ban also announced that Susana Malcorra of Argentina, who has served as Under-Secretary-General for Field Support since 2008, will be his new Chief of Staff as of 1 April.

It was also announced that Robert Orr and Kim Won-soo of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General will move on to new functions. Mr. Orr will lead the effort to create a new partnership facility as a way to harness public and private partnerships to meet global challenges.

Mr. Kim will lead a change implementation team seeking to create a network for reform, which will enable the Organization to have a modern Secretariat, supported by a mobile and multi-skilled work force. Both men will take up their new functions on 1 April.

Human Rights Council
: Calling 2011 a ‘critical’ year, the United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay today called on countries to increase measures to protect the rights of their citizens, particularly those facing discrimination and living in marginalized communities, as well as those that have been involved in civil movements.

In particular, Ms. Pillay highlighted the importance of protecting marginalized communities which face discrimination on a daily basis such as indigenous peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. In addition, Ms. Pillay also underlined that countries should adopt a human rights-based approach to development which takes into account the worker’s needs while also being mindful of economic requirements and environmental standards.

The UN-mandated commission of inquiry that probed human rights abuses in Libya reported today that crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed by both the troops loyal to the former ruler, Muammar al-Qadhafi, and the forces that fought to oust him.

The commission also concluded that NATO conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties. On limited occasions, it confirmed civilian casualties and found targets that showed no evidence of military utility.

Accelerating women’s political participation:
The head of the United Nations entity mandated to promote gender equality today highlighted the role of quotas to accelerate women’s political participation, adding that more hands-on measures are needed to achieve significant progress on this issue.

The Women in Politics 2012 report, produced by UN Women in conjunction with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), maps the progress of women’s political participation around the world in the past year. Quotas, the report reveals, have had a positive effect on increasing women’s involvement in politics.

Survivors of the 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti have this week started receiving cash subsidies through the first-ever mobile money transfer system in support of post-disaster housing reconstruction, UNDP reported today.The initiative is part of the ‘Community Support Centres for House Repairs,’ a partnership between UNDP and the Government of Haiti. Commissioned by UNDP and developed by Digicel, one of the country’s largest cell phone service providers, the mobile telephone cash transfers are helping boost financial inclusion in Haiti, where nearly two-thirds of the population has access to mobile phones, but only 10 per cent have bank accounts.