Ambassador Rabab Fatima, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, has been appointed as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlock Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). Today, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced this high-level appointment.
For the first time, a female diplomat from the Bangladesh Foreign Service has been appointed as a UN Under-Secretary-General. With this appointment, Rabab Fatima becomes the highest-ranking official among the Bangladesh nationals currently working in the UN system.
The high-level appointment of Ambassador Rabab Fatima at the UN is a testament to Bangladesh’s deep and intense engagement in multilateral diplomacy and the recognition of the true professionalism of Bangladeshi diplomats.
While expressing her immediate reaction to this appointment, Ambassador Fatima said, “I am grateful to Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for giving me the opportunity to work for Bangladesh to the highest global forum of the world. She has kindly appointed me as the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and put her confidence and trust in me.” She also thanked the UN Secretary-General and said, “ I know it is a significant commitment and am prepared to contribute to the development of the Least Developed Countries, Landlock Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States.”
She is currently Bangladesh’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. Earlier, she served as the Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan from 2016 to 2019.
As Permanent Representative, Ambassador Fatima holds the position of Chairperson of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, President of the UN Women Executive Board, and Vice-Chair of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly. She also served as co-chair of the LDC-5 Preparatory Committee, President of the UNICEF Executive Board, and Vice President of UNDP, UNFPA, and UNOPS.
Rabab Fatima, a career diplomat, joined the Bangladesh Foreign Service in 1989. In addition to serving in various important positions at the headquarters in Dhaka, including as the Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she also served in the Bangladesh Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva and the Bangladesh Embassy in Kolkata and Beijing.
Ambassador Rabab Fatima has over 32 years of rich experience in diplomacy. She has significantly contributed to bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, policy-making, advocacy, program planning, and implementation. Ambassador Rabab Fatima has extensive experience and specialization in human rights and humanitarian issues. In addition to the Bangladesh Foreign Service, she has also served with the Commonwealth Secretariat, London as Head of the Department of Human Rights, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as a regional representative for South Asia and later, a regional adviser on climate change and migration in South and Southwest Asia.
She holds a master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Canberra, Australia.
Rabab Fatima is married and has one daughter. Her spouse, Kazi Imtiaz Hossain, is also a professional diplomat and served as Bangladesh Ambassador. He is currently the Chairman of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BISS).