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Jordanian diplomat tapped to be new UN rights chief

Jordan's ambassador to the United Nations has been nominated as UN high commissioner for human rights to replace South Africa's outgoing Navi Pillay, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Jordan's ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has been nominated as UN high commissioner for human rights to replace South Africa's outgoing Navi Pillay, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.

Prince Zeid al-Hussein, who has a PhD from Cambridge University, has twice been Jordanian ambassador at the United Nations and is also the desert kingdom's former ambassador to the United States.

A widely respected diplomat, Zeid is steeped in peacekeeping and international justice, and played a central role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

For more than two years, he chaired complex negotiations on the elements of individual offenses under the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Zeid currently represents Jordan on the UN Security Council, where Amman has a two-year term. The UN General Assembly must approve his nomination before he can formally take office.

Pillay, who first took office in September 2008, is due to step down on September 1.

Jordan rewrote its constitution in 2011 to guarantee basic freedoms but has been criticized by rights groups over government measures that limit free expression and media reform.

Zeid is married and has three children.

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