Press Releases

    Biographical Note

    25 July 2002

    Secretary-General Nominates Sergio Vieira de Mello as Human Rights Commissioner

    NEW YORK, 23 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General, following consultations with the Chair- men of the five regional groups of Member States, yesterday informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The General Assembly is expected to approve the appointment today, 23 July. The appointment would be for a four-year term, beginning on 12 September 2002.

    Mr. Vieira de Mello was, until May of this year, the United Nations Transitional Administrator in East Timor. Prior to that, he established the United Nations Mission in Kosovo as Special Representative of the Secretary-General ad interim, following a year and a half serving at Headquarters as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

    He has been with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 1969, culminat- ing in his appointment as United Nations Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees in January 1996. He has extensive Headquarters and field experience in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, including in Bangladesh, Sudan, Cyprus, Mozambique, Peru and Lebanon. Mr. Vieira de Mello has also served as Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for Cambodia, Director of Repatriation for the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), Head of Civil Affairs of the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR), as well as United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Great Lakes region of Africa.

    Mr. Vieira de Mello studied in Brazil and France, receiving two doctorates from the University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He was born on 15 March 1948.

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    * This supersedes Press Release SG/A/667-BIO/3120 of 14 November 1997.