I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Jerry Shestack. He was a committed public servant and a dogged defender of human rights. Countless women and men are better off because of Jerry.
Jerry served the cause of human rights for more than half a century. He made a lasting impression as Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission where he launched the UN Working Group to investigate disappearances under oppressive regimes. Under President George HW Bush, he served with distinction on the delegation to the Moscow Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and on the Presidential-Congressional Commission to Improve the Effectiveness of the United Nations. As president of the American Bar Association, and in the years following, he set the standard for how civil society leaders can promote human rights.
He was unwavering in his commitment to the highest of American values and international human rights standards. Jerry was an effective advocate for the causes—and people—he cared about because he had a rare mix of wonderful qualities: optimism, resilience, humor, a thick skin, and a way of making everyone feel at ease.
Today my thoughts and prayers are with Jerry’s beloved wife, Marciarose, and their two children, Jennifer and Jonathan.