Jordanian prince set to become UN human rights chief

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has nominated Prince Zeid to replace controversial Pillay as body’s top human rights campaigner

Jordan’s Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein.

Jordan’s Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein.

Jordan’s Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein is expected to be appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at a meeting on Monday, after he was nominated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

Prince Zeid’s appointment is not expected to be opposed during a vote of the 193-member nation UN General Assembly.

The current Jordanian ambassador to the UN, Prince Zeid is “generally popular and has established a solid reputation as a human rights advocate”, diplomats told Reuters.

He has previously served as Jordan's ambassador to the US and Mexico and worked for the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia during the Balkan conflict.

Last year Prince Zeid was among UN envoys who called for a boycott of a UN meeting on international justice described by countries including the US as "inflammatory".

He will replace South African jurist Navi Pillay, who had become controversial. She was disliked by the US, who disapproved of her criticism of Israel, and Syria, who said she was “hostile” to the Bashar Al Assad regime.

Prince Zeid has a PhD in history and graduated from Cambridge University and Johns Hopkins University.

The commissioner’s term is from September 1, 2014 for four years, with the possibility of a second term of the same duration.

Jordan also this year was elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member after Saudi Arabia refused to take up its seat in protest against what it said was an ineffective body in relation to the Syrian crisis. It also was widely viewed as a protest against the US.

Prince Zeid will be replaced as Jordanian ambassador to the UN by Dina Kawar, who will become the sixth female to head a delegation on the Security Council.

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