Ban Ki-moon’s office has announced that Prince Zeid al Hussein, a long-time diplomat and former U.N. peacekeeper, has been nominated to replace Navi Pillay.
U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has said he will appoint Jordan’s ambassador as the new high commissioner for human rights, bringing to that post a voice from the West Asia.
Mr. Ban’s office announced on Friday that Prince Zeid al Hussein, a long-time diplomat and former U.N. peacekeeper, has been nominated to replace Navi Pillay.
The South African-born Ms. Pillay’s term as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights was originally set to end in 2012 but was extended for two years.
Prince Zeid, who has been ambassador to both the U.N. and the United States, announced in late April he would resign as U.N. ambassador.
He was a candidate for U.N. Secretary-General back when Mr. 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.”
Syria is a special concern. Ms. Hicks said that as ambassador, Prince Zeid has shown interest in addressing “horrific abuses” in the three-year conflict, and he was among the Security Council members pushing for the council’s resolution in February on humanitarian access.