The UN secretary-general said Friday, June 6, he will appoint Jordan's ambassador as the new high commissioner for human rights, bringing a voice from the Middle East to that post when such rights are under strain in several countries there, the Associated Press reports.
Ban Ki-moon's office announced that Prince Zeid al Hussein, a longtime diplomat and former UN peacekeeper, has been nominated to replace Navi Pillay, whose term as high commissioner for human rights was extended in 2012 for two years.
The nomination for her successor requires approval by the General Assembly, which is expected.
Prince Zeid, who has been ambassador to both the UN and the United States, announced in late April he would resign as UN ambassador. He has represented Jordan on the Security Council, a rotating council seat that expires at the end of 2015. He was a candidate for secretary-general back when Ban was chosen for the job. In his career, Prince Zeid has built a reputation as being strong on issues such as international justice and sexual violence.
"I think that, given that he comes from Mideast, it brings that advantage and burden in this post," said Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "Obviously a challenge is that he has to be willing to speak frankly about the record of silencing civil society, crushing peaceful protests, which is endemic in that region at this stage."
Jordan this week appointed Dina Kawar as its new representative to the UN.