Prince Zeid Raad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

June 7, 2014

Yesterday, 6 June 2014, the UN and media reported that the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has proposed that Jordans U.N. ambassador, Prince Zeid Raad Zeid al-Hussein, as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (to replace Navi Pillay who leaves in August after serving a second term). The General Assembly still has to approve, but usually no announcement is made unless there is already agreement.

Prince Zeid is generally well-liked as a diplomat and has established a solid reputation. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Cambridge University, has previously served as Jordans ambassador to the United States and Mexico. He was also a political affairs officer in UNPROFOR, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia during the Balkan conflict.

Still, after a two women High Commissioners with broad experience in human rights and proven independence as judges before their appointments, it is fair to ask what human rights defenders can expect from this shift back towards a High Commissioner chosen for more diplomatic skills (as was the first one José Ayala-Lasso in 1994). Anyway, the only thing is to wait and see how he works out in practice. After all, another Prince, Sadruddin Aga Khan served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1966 to 1978, and was excellent.

2 Responses to “Prince Zeid Raad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights”

  1. Has anyone done a study of his voting record on behalf of Jordan? Are there positions that Jordan has taken that are likely to raise concerns in the context of the wider fundamental human rights agenda?

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