Victims’ Rights in the United Nations: the role of the Victims' Rights Advocate
A special Webinar given by Jane Connors, UN Victims’ Rights Advocate.
Since its foundation in 1945, the United Nations’ role in situations of conflict, humanitarian crisis and development has expanded and diversified. As it has done so, victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel have come forward, reporting their experiences to United Nations and civil society staff, the media and others. Over the past 20 years, the United Nations has developed and implemented comprehensive policies to prevent and respond to these harmful behaviours. In 2017, the United Nations Secretary-General introduced a “new approach”, which places the rights and dignity of victims at the forefront, including by creating the position of Victims’ Rights Advocate (VRA). Jane Connors was appointed the first VRA and began work in mid-September 2017. Since that time, she has sought to implement the Secretary-General’s policy by elevating the rights of victims in the UN’s quest to protect communities around the world from sexual exploitation and abuse by its uniformed and civilian staff and those who implement its programmes.Comments and questions to follow, led by Auckland lawyer Geraldine Whiteford of Davenports City Law, counsel for the plaintiff in the Taylor v Roper and Attorney-General proceedings.
Jane Connors was appointed to her present role in August 2017. In previous roles, she has been Amnesty International’s Director of International Advocacy, Chief of the Women’s Rights Section in the Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at United Nations Headquarters; Chief of the Special Procedures Branch and Director of the Research and Right to Development Division at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Before joining the United Nations, Ms Connors was a law teacher at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, the Universities of Lancaster and Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, and the University of Canberra and the Australian National University in Australia.
Ms. Connors holds a Masters of Laws, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. In July 2019, she was awarded a doctorate in laws honoris causa by the Australian National University