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Jordan's Prince Zeid al-Hussein elected UN human rights chief

THE United Nations general assembly unanimously elected Jordanian Prince Zeid al-Hussein as human rights chief on Monday.

Mr Hussein, who is currently Jordan’s UN ambassador, praised retiring High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay “for her courageous endeavours” and pledged “to build on her noteworthy achievements.”

The vote represented a personal triumph for the prince, since his country’s record on human rights is far from exemplary.

Human Rights Watch records that the country “resorted to force, arrests and politicised charges to respond to demonstrations for political and economic reform.”

It notes that Jordan criminalises speech critical of the king, government officials and institutions.

And it says that hundreds of foreign migrants working in duty-free zones and in agriculture and domestic work had complained about workers’ rights violations, including unpaid salaries, confiscation of passports and forced labour.

Government inspections and judicial redress are poor, it said.

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