First Indian head for Amnesty International

London, Feb 2 ( Amnesty International has appointed Salil Shetty, an Indian who headed the UN Millennium Campaign, as its next secretary general.

Shetty takes over the job in June 2010, succeeding Irene Khan who stepped down after eight years as Amnesty Secretary General Dec 31, 2009.

Amnesty – the global human rights watchdog – said Shetty, with a strong track record in the non-government and inter-government sectors, will lead its 50th anniversary expansion plans.

“We are thrilled that Salil will be joining us and leading Amnesty International as we renew our fight to end injustice – campaigning with those imprisoned because of their ideas, those on death row, those being tortured, and those who have their rights denied because they live in poverty,” said Peter Pack, the chair of Amnesty’s International Executive Committee.

“As we approach our 50th anniversary, we have ambitious plans to expand our work, especially in the global south, and Salil has a solid track record in mobilising people, civil society, governments and international organizations in the fight for people’s rights and dignity,” added Pack.

“I feel privileged to be given this amazing opportunity at a time when the world needs human rights for all more than ever before,” said Shetty, who becomes the first Indian to head the human rights body.

Amnesty International, founded in London in 1961, has more than 2.2 million members and supporters in more than 150 countries.