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    Jordan's Ambassador nominated to replace HR chief Navi Pillay

    June 08, 2014

    The U.N. secretary-general said Friday 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.

     

    Ban Ki-moon's office announced that Prince Zeid al Hussein, a longtime diplomat and former U.N. peacekeeper, has been nominated to replace Navi Pillay

     

    Pillay has been a forceful spokeswoman, most recently this week when she was the most prominent U.N. official to speak out on the 25th anniversary of China's crushing of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, in which hundreds were killed. Ban made no comment this week on the Tiananmen crackdown.

     

    The South African-born Pillay's 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 U.N. and the United States, announced in late April he would resign as U.N. 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.

     

    Prince Zeid in April made a powerful speech as the Security Council marked the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, challenging the council and the international community to act on the crisis in Central African Republic, which faces unprecedented violence between Christians and Muslims.

     

    Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers were approved for Central African Republic after months of council discussion, but they will not arrive until in September.

     

    "It is ... clear we still do not care enough; not enough to act immediately, overwhelmingly, in those cases where an intervention is needed," Prince Zeid said in his speech.

     

    He added, "We need the courage to understand that our methods of work in this Council generate a sense of routine, which is deadening and dangerous."

     

    (kh/dn)

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