Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Hussein has revealed his intention to leave his post as the United Nations Human Rights Chief when his term ends next summer.
Prince Zeid, who formerly served as an ambassador for Jordan and a U.N. political officer during the Bosnian war, expressed his concern that his voice would be silenced as major world powers turn their backs on human rights violations around the world, Foreign Policy reported Wednesday.
"Next year will be the last of my mandate," Prince Zeid wrote Wednesday in an email to staff.
"After reflection, I have decided not to seek a second four-year term. 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 added.
The Jordanian diplomat has staunchly criticized the United States and Russia for their treatment of journalists and for their roles in regional conflicts, such as Syria, according to VICE.
Prince Zeid's criticism has also targeted the European Union, specifically addressing its response to the refugee crisis.
"The increasing interventions of the EU and its member states have done nothing so far to reduce the level of abuses suffered by migrants," he said in November, according to DW.
Despite his intention to leave his post, Prince Zeid promised he will use his final months to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which marks its 70th anniversary next year.
"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," he wrote in his email.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who has been seen as reluctant to speak openly about human rights violations, has previously urged Prince Zeid to turn down his public criticism – particularly of the U.S. – according to diplomatic sources.
"The high commissioner informed the secretary general last week of his intention not to seek another term," Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric told media this week. "The high commissioner has always enjoyed the full support of the secretary general."
Prince Zeid's decision also comes to light as the U.N. General Assembly is set to vote on a resolution against U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The U.N. Security Council already voted in favor of a resolution against Trump's decision, but the U.S. used its veto power to block the move.
Leading up to the U.N. General Assembly vote, Trump has threatened to withhold billions in aid from nations that vote against his wishes.