Press Releases

    26 August 2004

    Biographical Note

    Secretary-General Appoints Mehr Khan Williams of Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

    NEW YORK, 25 August (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Mehr Khan Williams as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. The appointment is at the Assistant-Secretary-General level.

    Ms. Khan Williams has worked for the United Nations since 1976. She has held senior management positions in New York, Florence and Bangkok with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and has also served as Acting Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Sydney.  Until July 2004, she was UNICEF’s Regional Director in East Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok.  She is currently serving as Special Advisor to the Executive Director of UNICEF.

    Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Khan Williams worked for the World Bank in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press of Pakistan, United Press International and the University of Karachi.

    In addition to holding senior management positions in the United Nations, Ms. Khan Williams has written extensively on development and human rights issues for the international media.  She has also served as a Trustee for the London-based Television Trust for the Environment and as Chair of the Joint United Nations Information Committee.

    As Regional Director for UNICEF in East Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Khan Williams provided leadership and oversight for the work of UNICEF in 28 countries in which UNICEF assists governments and civil society towards the full attainment of all rights for all children in accordance with Human Rights treaties, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

    The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, which Ms. Khan Williams directed from 1998-2000, is UNICEF’s key research institution. The prime objective of the Centre is to improve international understanding of issues relating to children’s rights and to help facilitate the full implementations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in both industrial and developing countries.  Its activities include research and advocacy as well as capacity building of UNICEF staff and of partner institutions.

    Earlier (1989-1996), Ms. Khan Williams was Director of UNICEF’s Division of Communication.  The principal role of the Division is to create a better public understanding of children’s issues and to generate moral and financial support for them. The Division works towards this objective by carrying out global media, information and education for development programmes, and by providing technical advice and information to field offices and UNICEF’s National Committees in order to strengthen the organization’s advocacy and fund-raising.

    Ms. Khan Williams has also served as Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Programme Funding Office and as senior External Relations Officer in the East Asia and Pacific region.

    She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Karachi and has undertaken courses in Communication at the East-West Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as in Human Rights at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

    Ms. Khan Williams was born in India in 1945 and is a national of Pakistan. She is married with one child.

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