Ilze Brands Kehris

Ilze Brands Kehris assumed her functions as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on 14 January 2020, heading the UN Human Rights Office in New York.

Ms. Brands Kehris combines extensive expertise in political science, conflict prevention and human rights, with a specialisation in minority rights, and long-standing experience in intergovernmental fora and with civil society organisations.

From 2017 to 2019, Ms. Brands Kehris served as independent Expert Member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the treaty body monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Between 2016 and 2019, she served as a senior research fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University, in Sweden.  

She has previously held several leadership positions in national and regional level human rights organisations, including as Member and Chairperson of the Management Board of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.

Ms. Brands Kehris also held the positions as Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, first Vice-President and Member of the Advisory Committee on the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, and Member of the Management Board and Vice-Chairperson of the Executive Board of the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. She also served as Director of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Mills College in California, USA, a Master of Arts in Political Science (International Relations) from Columbia University in New York, USA, where she also pursued Ph.D. studies.

Ms. Brands Kehris, who is Latvian, speaks English, Russian, French, Latvian and Swedish.

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