UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

News: In June 2014 the UN 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.

Role: The UN General Assembly, in resolution A/RES/48/141of 20 December 1993, established the role of High Commissioner. It explained that the Commissioner would be the “United Nations official with principal responsibility for United Nations human rights activities under the direction and authority of the Secretary-General;within the framework of the overall competence, authority and decisions of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human Rights.”

How? The resolution further explains that the Commissioner must be:

(a) “a person of high moral standing and personal integrity and shall possess expertise, including in the field of human rights, and the general knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures necessary for impartial, objective, non-selective and effective performance of the duties of the High Commissioner;

(b) appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and approved by the General Assembly, with due regard to geographical rotation, and have a fixed term of four years with a possibility of one renewal for another fixed term of four years.”

When: The next appointment is due in May 2018.