(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The General Assembly Monday approved by acclamation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's proposal last week to appoint Jordan's UN Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein as new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a four-year term beginning September 1.
He will succeed current UN human rights Chief Navi Pillay of South Africa who retires on August 31. The post, which takes into consideration the geographical rotation, is at the level of Under Secretary General. The term can be renewed only once.
The Assembly created the post to be filled by a person of "high moral standing and personal integrity and possesses 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." The Chairmen of the regional groups took the floor in the Assembly to warmly congratulate the Prince for his confirmation as the new human rights Chief and to thank Pillay for her "fantastic" work while on the job.
Addressing the Assembly, Prince Zeid thanked Ban and the Assembly members for their trust, confidence and support, "especially that I am going to be the first High Commissioner ... from Asia, the Muslim and Arab worlds.
"Needless to say that this reflects the commitment of the international community towards this important dossier and the commitment to push it forward in this continent as well as in other regions of the world, taking into account the independence and the mandate of the High Commissioner," he said.
He noted that the human rights dossier is full of responsibilities and paramount challenges. "Dealing with it requires wisdom and high level of co-ordination and communication with different governments, as well as with the civil society and the UN agencies." He expressed his high appreciation to Pillay for her "courageous" endeavours, and said it will be an "honor" to be her successor and to build on her achievements.