On 8 August, the United Nations General Assembly approved the appointment of Mr. Volker Türk as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Türk, currently the Under Secretary-General for Policy, will be taking over the role from Michelle Bachelet.
The announcement came following months of calls by human rights organisations for an “open, transparent and merit-based process.” Despite these efforts, the OHCHR’s selection process was largely closed, with no information published on the candidates under consideration or the selection timeline, and without civil society input.
This lack of transparency is particularly concerning from a human rights perspective, given the OHCHR’s increasing influence over a range of urgent technology-related policy issues—from artificial intelligence to encryption.
In other instances, the OHCHR has shown itself to be open to civil society input. Recently, the office’s “Right to Privacy in the Digital Age” report cited recommendations submitted by the Global Encryption Coalition (of which GPD is a co-founder and steering committee member).