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Prince Zeid, Veteran Jordanian Envoy, Begins UN Rights Post

FILE - Jordan's ambassador to the United Nationas, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein, speaks to the media during a news conference in New York.

The new United Nations high commissioner for human rights is a Jordanian prince, longtime diplomat, and the first Arab and Muslim to hold the influential position.

Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein assumed the four-year, Geneva-based job a week ago, replacing South African jurist Navi Pillay after winning unanimous support from the U.N. General Assembly in June.

The 50-year-old Zeid, educated in the United States and Britain, has been Jordan's ambassador to the U.N. twice in the last 14 years, with a three-year break when he served as Amman's top envoy in Washington.

He has been a strong advocate for international justice, playing a key role in the creation of the International Criminal Court.

Zeid also has worked as a political officer in the U.N. mission to the Balkans and as an adviser to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights is charged with protecting the rights of all people throughout the world that are spelled out in the United Nations charter and several global treaties.

The U.N. human rights commissioners have often issued reports, as Zeid did Monday on abuses by Islamic State militants, that highlight mistreatment of women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities throughout the world.