The United Nation’s top human rights official, who has been a frequent and often theatrical critic of President Donald Trump, has decided not to seek another term.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince and the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in an email to staff that he will not be seeking a second four-year term next year, according to Foreign Policy. He has reportedly blamed his departure on the U.S. and other countries’ alleged retreat from their commitment to human rights.
“To do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy; lessening the independence and integrity of my voice — which is your voice,” he said.
Zeid has made a name for himself for his outlandish criticisms of the president. In August, he slammed Trump’s “poisonous” criticisms of the media.
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the president himself,” he said.
”I almost feel that the president is driving the bus of humanity and we’re careening down a mountain path,” he said.
Foreign Policy reports that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has urged Zeid to tone down his criticisms of Trump, fearing that it could damage already-strained U.S. support of the U.N. It is possible that Zeid’s remarks about “bending a knee” could refer to this urging from Guterres.
Zeid’s email reportedly paints a downbeat assessment of the state of human rights, particularly that being promoted by President Trump, and says he intends to devote his final months in power to promoting the U.N.’s founding document on human rights – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“It has been an arduous year for many of us,” Zeid said. “There are many months ahead of us: months of struggle, perhaps, and even grief — because although the past year has been arduous for us, it has been appalling for many of the people we serve.”
At present, Cuba, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia are still members of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council – three countries known for having abominable human rights records.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.