Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (born 29 September 1951) is a Chilean politician who has served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018. She also previously served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and 2014 to 2018 for the Socialist Party of Chile; she is the first woman to hold the Chilean presidency and the first elected female leader in South America.
Address to the United Nations (2006)
- I come before the United Nations General Assembly as the first woman to be elected President of Chile.
A country that has learned from its history. We Chileans lived through difficult times; the Assembly knows this. The learning curve was difficult, but fertile. From pain, hope was born. Major dissent gave way to major consensus.
I come from a country where today the rule of law prevails, where the rights of persons are respected and promoted. A democracy that is experiencing economic growth and that in the past 16 years has helped millions of Chileans out of poverty. Chile is integrated with its neighbors and in the region looking at the world.
My presence before this Assembly is symbolic of this Chile; the Chile that is unafraid to look back at the past and united in building its own future.
We can say with pride that today, Chile is more free and more fair. As a society we have granted the basic dignity and respect that every citizen deserves.
- The world looks different from the far distant south, and this is the viewpoint that my country wishes to bring. A viewpoint that is optimistic about the opportunities of globalization, but cautious about its risks. We can and must steer the course of the planet. Humans cannot and must not avoid being the instrument of their own advancement.
We wish to reaffirm our commitment to international law and institutions. Only through them shall we be able to build this fairer and more integrated world of which we dream, where large and small coexist in peace and harmony.
- Nothing justifies the violation of human rights. Chile rejects impunity. I assure you all of our commitment and enthusiasm in the initiatives designed to promote human rights and democracy. We therefore welcome the launching of the United Nations Democracy Fund and the creation of the Human Rights Council. We especially value the adoption by consensus of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Forced Disappearance.
The promotion of human rights does not contradict the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States. Chile has been and will be on the front line of the diplomatic trenches in the defense of human rights.
On growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine (2022)
- "Bachelet urges respect for international humanitarian law amid growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine", United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (22 April 2022)
- Over these eight weeks, international humanitarian law has not merely been ignored but seemingly tossed aside. … What we saw in Government-controlled Kramatorsk on 8 April when cluster sub-munitions hit the railway station, killing 60 civilians and injuring 111 others, is emblematic of the failure to adhere to the principle of distinction, the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks and the principle of precaution enshrined in international humanitarian law.
- We know the actual numbers are going to be much higher as the horrors inflicted in areas of intense fighting, such as Mariupol, come to light. … The scale of summary executions of civilians in areas previously occupied by Russian forces are also emerging. The preservation of evidence and decent treatment of mortal remains must be ensured, as well as psychological and other relief for victims and their relatives.
- Almost every resident in Bucha our colleagues spoke to told us about the death of a relative, a neighbour or even a stranger. We know much more needs to be done to uncover what happened there and we also know Bucha is not an isolated incident.
- Our work to date has detailed a horror story of violations perpetrated against civilians. First and foremost, this senseless war must stop. But as the fighting shows no sign of abating, it is vital that all parties to the conflict give clear instructions to their combatants to strictly respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law. … This means distinguishing between civilian and military objects. It means not targeting or deliberately killing civilians. It means not committing sexual violence. People, including prisoners of war, must not be tortured. Civilians, prisoners and others hors de combat must be treated humanely.
- Those in command of armed forces must make it clear to their fighters that anyone found to have been involved in such violations will be prosecuted and held accountable. … I call on the parties to the conflict to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law allegedly committed by their nationals, armed forces and affiliated armed groups, in line with their obligations under international law.