Callamard named new Amnesty International chief


Global human rights expert, Agnes Callamard, has been appointed the new secretary general of Amnesty International.

Callamard led the recent high profile United Nations investigation into the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Amnesty International said she was chosen following an extensive global search.

She commences her initial four-year term with immediate effect.

Callamard, who is in her mid-50s, had previously worked for Amnesty from 1995 to 2001. As secretary general she becomes the principal spokesperson for Amnesty, which has 10 million supporters and offices in more than 70 countries.

She was appointed by the organisation’s international board, and succeeds acting head Julie Verhaar.

“I am honoured to take up the post of secretary general and work alongside Amnesty’s supporters around the world so that together we defend and demand respect for all human rights for all,” she said in a statement.

Callamard’s lengthy career has seen her lead human rights investigations in more than 30 countries and her work has been published extensively.

She had held the role of director of the Global Freedom of Expression initiative at Columbia University since 2013.

In 2017 she was appointed as the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, and headed the investigation into the gruesome killing of Khashoggi.

The Washington Post newspaper columnist and critic of the Saudi government was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Callamard’s report, published in June 2019, concluded there was “credible evidence” that top Saudi officials, including Prince Mohammed, were liable for the killing.

Last week she accused Saudi Arabia of bullying after a top official allegedly threatened her life following the probe.

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