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Hail the prince

Jul 29,2018 - Last updated at Jul 29,2018

In six weeks, the term of office of His Highness Prince Zeid Bin Ra’ad as UN high commissioner for human rights will expire. 

Prince Zeid said publicly that he would not seek a second term because he vexed so many powerful governments while carrying out his mandate that nobody would vote for him. 

He is the seventh individual to lead the office of the high commissioner for human rights, and the first Asian, Muslim, Arab or prince to do so. Interestingly, not a single high commissioner has ever served a second term, Navi Pillay’s term was only extended by two years, which puts Prince Zeid in the good company of internationally respected celebrities, such as former Irish President Mary Robinson and Canadian jurist Louise Arbor. 

I humbly posit that it is a badge of honour for Prince Zeid that so many governments would oppose his candidacy for a second term. He had the choice between remaining true to his principles or keeping his office, and he chose the former. 

It would be no exaggeration to say that his career should be highlighted in school syllabuses in Jordan and throughout the Arab world because this is a moment when Jordan and the Arab world suffer from a dire need for inspiring role models who make a stand on principle, and who stand on the side of integrity. 

But why are human rights such a challenging issue? After all, who in the world argues against the principles of human rights? Well, the devil is in the details.

It all started back in the seventies when the US elected a morally upright president, Jimmy Carter, then hastened to vote him out after one term for the same reasons for which he had been elected in the first place. 

Carter sought to make human rights a focus of US foreign policy. But his national security advisor, Brzezinski saw human rights as a tool of foreign policy, to recapture the moral high-ground, as he wrote in his memoirs titled: Power and Principle.  

The problem with preaching high principles, unless you are genuinely sincere, is that they can catch up with you and bite you solidly in the behind.

Human rights cannot become a tool of diplomacy because diplomacy is the art of making compromises, while principles should never be compromised. Disputes inevitably arose between politicians, who are happy enough to use human rights as a bludgeon to beat their adversaries, but unhappy when the same weapon is turned against them for their transgressions; and human rights activists who hold only their principles to be inviolable and who recognise no holy cows as being above criticism. 

In less than half a century since the introduction of human rights politics, the discourse of countries with generally decent human rights records became indistinguishable from those with the worst records in this area. 

Governments who could not agree on anything else, united in pointing the finger of scorn at the high commissioner for human rights. Uniting them, even in error, is an achievement worthy of admiration.

 

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THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THIS YOUNG MAN HAS DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB FOR THE UN HUMAN RIGHT DIVISION. THE PRINCE IS A CLASSICAL EXAMPLE OF THE QUALITY OF INDIVIDUALS NEEDED IN ANY PUBLIC SERVICE. HE HAS SERVED THE UN WITH FLYING COLORS REACHING OUT BEYOND THE USUAL SUSPECT BOUNDRIES OF THE OPPRESSED, THE POOR, THE REJECTED THAT HAS BEEN WALLED OFF WITH THE WALLS OF SHAME. IT DOES NOT MATTER TO HIM WHO WAS PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK WITH HUMAN RIGHTS, HE DID POINT HIS FINGERS SQUARED ON THE PROBLEM. IN SUMMARY, THIS IS A MAN WHO RATHER BE UNEMPLOYED, POOR, BASHED AROUND THAN TO PLAY BALL AS USUAL. THIS IS WHAT IS NEEDED IN OUR CRAZY WORLD TODAY AND I WISH HIM NOTHING BUT THE BEST. WE ALL COULD SEE HERE THAT JORDAN HAS HEROS OF WHICH THE PRINCE IS ONE OF THEM. CAN HE DO MORE? YES AND I WISH THAT THE ARAB LEAGUE CAN CONSIDER HIM FOR A NEW POST OF THE CHAIR OF THE HUMAN RIGHT DIVISION OF A UNITED ARAB WORLD. CONGRATULATIONS FOR JORDAN AND ALL JORDANIANS FOR A JOB WELL DONE.

You're right about what you said about Prince Zeid and with the word integrity.
What a difference between this fine gentleman, the Prince, and certain 'diplomats,' and aah...you know,
Ambassadors from certain powerful nations, shall I say, politely and...diplomatically!
Well, anyway,
Thanks for a good article.
Have a good day

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