The United Nations General Assembly today unanimously approved Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, succeeding Navi Pillay of South Africa.
“I am going to be the first High Commissioner from the Asian continent and from the Muslim and Arab worlds,” Prince Zeid said after the 193-member body approved his appointment by consensus.
“Needless to say this reflects the commitment of the international community towards this important dossier and its commitment to push it forward in this continent as well as in other regions of the world,” he added.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon nominated Prince Zeid, who is currently Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, earlier this month to replace Ms. Pillay, whose term lasts until the end of August.
After the world body approved his nomination by applause, Prince Zeid joked: “My supportive wife told me to enjoy this moment, to soak it all up, after all, she said, you are among friends who you’ve known for a very long time. Because when you start this job, she added, you may not have them for very long.”
Headquartered in Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the UN Charter and in international human rights laws and treaties.
The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the UN, and strengthening and streamlining the UN system in the field of human rights. In addition to its mandated responsibilities, the Office leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by UN agencies.