Update, 30 March: The list of candidates has been confirmed by staff at UNElections.org today.
Colum Lynch reported on Friday that the selection committee tasked with producing a short-list of candidates for the new Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights position has narrowed choices for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to four names. The list is unofficial, of course, but is rumored to include
Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Brazilian diplomat; Juan Méndez, an Argentine human rights advocate; Ivan Simonovic, a former Croatian diplomat; and Karin Landgren, a Swedish national who heads the U.N. mission in Nepal, have been selected as front-runners by a selection panel headed by Navanethem Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Of these four, only Pinheiro had been mentioned before; the others are dark horse candidates who’s candidacies escaped discovery by Lynch or by UNElections.org, the leading site on elections to UN bodies.
Though each of these individuals easily meet the declared criteria for candidates, Juan Méndez may have an advantage. He was on UNSG Ban’s short-list for the High Commissioner post in 2008, and this plus information shared from other sources places him in the favored candidate position at present.
Lynch notes the secretiveness of the process and that “several prominent candidates” – such as David Scheffer and Irene Khan, two earlier leaked candidates – had not even been interviewed by the committee. Lynch cites Rupert Colville, a spokesman for High Commissioner for Human Right Navi Pillay, in declining to “confirm or deny” any of the names on the rumored short-list.
The selection process calls for the committee to recommend three candidates, though the process is an internal one and likely could be amended if the committee were unable to reach consensus on only three. That in itself, however, might raise other questions about the process.