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U.N. appoints first Arab, first Muslim to head Human Rights office

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously voted Wednesday to appoint Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein to succeed Navi Pillay as the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

By JC Finley
U.N. appoints first Arab, first Muslim to head Human Rights office
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan receives Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein's credentials as the new Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN on August 23, 2000. (mc/ep/Ezio Petersen/UPI) | License Photo

NEW YORK, June 18 (UPI) -- The United Nations unanimously voted Wednesday to appoint Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights.

He will be the first Arab and the first Muslim to serve in the position.

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Following his appointment, Prince Zeid addressed the UN General Assembly: "I am going to be the first High Commissioner from the Asian continent and from the Muslim and Arab worlds."

He also joked that "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."

Prince Zeid will succeed High Commissioner Navi Pillay of South Africa, whose term expires at the end of August.

He is currently Jordan's Permanent Representative to the U.N.

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