UN Secretary-General Peres de Cuellar has decided to ''upgrade'' the office for human rights, reports Monitor special correspondent Louis Wiznitzer.
The office will be put under the command of an assistant secretary-general rather than simply a director, as has been the case. In addition, the human rights division will be enlarged and its budget will be increased at a time when all other UN expenditures are frozen for budgetary reasons.
The moves follow the recent resignation of Theodor van Boven, director of the human rights division, amid rumors that he was in disagreement with his superiors in New York over human rights policy. Reliable sources say he was technically dismissed after singling out various countries for their human rights violations.
Monitor contributor Iain Guest reports from Geneva that Western diplomats, angered at the sacking of Mr. van Boven, have reacted with skepticism to the news that Mr. de Cuellar plans to upgrade the human rights machinery. One diplomat called the changes ''semantics.'' A key decision now is who will take over the top spot. Mr. van Boven has a long personal feud with Mr. de Cuellar and many fear his successor will be a cautious, timid, political appointment.