Ban says he has not yet picked UN human rights chief

Other News Materials 27 June 2008 00:32 (UTC +04:00)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he has not made the final decision on the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, rejecting a claim made by East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Hortas that he had been offered the post, the dpa reported.

Ban said he now has a short list of top qualified people to replace outgoing and outspoken Louise Arbour, Canada's former Supreme Court justice who has been leading the campaign to promote and protect human rights around the world in the last five years.

"I have never spoken to anybody" about the final choice, Ban told reporters at UN headquarters when asked about Ramos-Horta's claim in Dili, the capital of East Timor.

But Ban did not say whether Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was among the finalists.

The East Timorese president, who escaped an murder attempt earlier this year, said he would accept the job, news reports from Asia said.

The selection of a replacement for the outspoken Arbour has been criticized for lacking in transparency because the post and the selection methods were not advertised publicly. The UN has withheld names of the candidates on the ground of privacy protection.