Will the Next U.N. Commissioner on Human Rights Have a Voice That Matters?

Will the Next U.N. Commissioner on Human Rights Have a Voice That Matters?
Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the outgoing U.N. high commissioner for human rights, gestures as he speaks to the media during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Who can speak for the United Nations on human rights with any credibility these days?

Last week, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that he wants an open competition to determine who will become the new U.N. high commissioner for human rights when the position becomes vacant this summer. This is an explosively sensitive portfolio. The high commissioner is historically one of the most recognizable U.N. officials after the secretary-general. The media treat whoever holds the post as a sort of modern-day moral oracle.

The outgoing incumbent, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein of Jordan, has not shied away from this vocation.

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