GENEVA, (15 January 2021) – The Human Rights Council today elected Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations Office at Geneva, to serve as its President for 2021.
Ambassador Khan was elected through a secret ballot process through which all 47 members of the Geneva-based human rights body cast their vote to appoint its president for 2021 – the Council’s 15th annual cycle. Ambassador Khan, whose presidency takes immediate effect, joins Ambassadors Keva Lorraine Bain of the Bahamas, Ali Ibn Abi Talib Abdelrahman Mahmoud of the Sudan and Monique T.G. van Daalen of the Netherlands, who were elected on 16 December as Council vice-presidents, to serve on the Council Bureau for the current year. The election of the fourth vice-president, from the Eastern European Group, will take place following negotiations within the Group.
The other two candidates for the position of President of the Human Rights Council, coming from the Asia-Pacific Group of States, were Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Representative of Bahrain, and Ulugbek Lapasov, Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan. Per the rule of procedure, the candidate who received the largest number of votes and a majority of the members present and voting is declared elected as President of the Human Rights Council.
The results of the secret ballot vote were as follows: Ambassador Khan – 29 votes; Ambassador Bucheeri – 14 votes; Ambassador Lapasov – 4 votes.
Biography of Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan
Nazhat Shameem Khan has been serving as the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations Office at Geneva since 2014. Prior to her appointment to Geneva, Ms. Khan was a legal practitioner and legal consultant, training judges in Fiji on human rights, sentencing, and criminal justice. Ms. Khan worked for 16 years as a prosecutor in Fiji, and during that time was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions of Fiji in 1994. In 1999, she was appointed Fiji’s first woman High Court judge. Ms. Khan was born in 1960 in Fiji. She has a Bachelor of Arts in law from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, a Masters of Law from the University of Cambridge, and a Master of Philosophy in criminology from the University of Cambridge.