UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein is an honorable, respected and well-educated gentleman who belongs to an aristocrat family in Jordan.

The Philippines’ former ambassador to Jordan, Ruperto Dizon, who was at one time, the Filipino Consul General in New York, and his wife Dr. Linda Dizon, became close friends of Mr. Al-Hussein’s parents when he was stationed in Jordan.

According to Ambassador Dizon, the UN Commissioner’s parents, Prince Zeid Ra’ad and Princess Mahda, used to attend Philippine Independence events at the Philippine Embassy in Jordan.

Ambassador (ret.) Dizon was invited and attended the wedding of Commissioner Al-Hussein in July 2000.

The UN Commissioner’s child was at one time pupil of Ambassador Dizon’s daughter in her kindergarten class while at Boston College.

Ambassador Dizon texted me to inform that as far as he knew, the UN Commissioner is a sportsman whose favorite sports are football and horseback riding.

That explains why he has fair weight.

President Duterte branded the UN Human Rights Commissioner as “undernourished” because of his look and built.



Prince Zeid Ra’ad (right), the father of the UN High Commissioner, cutting the Philippine Independence Day ceremonial cake with retired Ambassador Ruperto Dizon.

Before he was appointed to his current position, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein served as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

He was Jordan’s ambassador to the United States and Mexico from 2007 to 2010 and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1996 to 2000.

Last week, after the Duterte Administration classified the Filipino Human Rights officer in the Cordillera as member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and as terrorist, the UN official who was criticized by the Duterte camp as “disrespectful,” opined that Mr. Duterte might need to see a psychiatrist for evaluation.

Suddenly, Mr. Duterte changed course and became sensitive to words.

(To my knowledge, respect cannot be mandated. It is earned.)

The UN Commissioner urged political leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example to earn global respect.

He is evidently widely-respected that the international media, print and social, carried his statements about Duterte prominently around the world.

Above all, Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein is popular and highly-respected by his peers in the United Nations, according to Ambassador Dizon, that he almost became its Secretary-General during one recent period at the UN.

Mr. Al-Hussein holds a bachelor of arts degree from The Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate degree from Cambridge University (Christ’s College).

He was presented in 2008 with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the Southern California Institute of Law for his work on international justice.

I just described the background of the man whom President Duterte’s spokesperson branded as “disrespectful” and, thus, ill-mannered. Also, as “undernourished.”

Likewise, the presidential spokesperson, said the UN Commissioner’s psychiatric evaluation statement became Duterte’s “last straw” that triggered the decision to withdraw PH membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Critics of Mr. Duterte at home and in social media are saying it was fear from prosecution and attempt to evade justice that prompted the PH president to stay out of ICC with a mistaken thinking, perhaps, that the ICC will stop from pursuing him for alleged summary executions of thousands under his bloody anti-drug campaign which may constitute “crimes against humanity,” one of three prosecutable crimes under ICC rules.

Like other foreign officials who are being prosecuted by the ICC, President Duterte can say anything or complain against ICC.

That can be expected.

They are apparently trying to appear guiltless and regain whatever respect of them is left among civilized citizens.

But, the bottom-line is, “crimes against humanity” may have been committed under their watch. If they and their associates are guilty, they have to face the music.

They must accept they are living in a global community of civilized people subject to international law.


Similar withdrawal by Africa’s Burundi from ICC

In October 2017, the president of the Republic of Burundi, also withdrew from ICC, like Duterte.

(But, recently, that country reverted to ICC as member nation.)

Also, like President Duterte, the Burundian president and some of his security forces were under examination by ICC for possible “crimes against humanity.”

Matt Cannock, Amnesty International’s Head of International Justice, issued the following then:

“The Burundian government has made a cynical attempt to evade justice by taking the unprecedented step of withdrawing from the ICC. But perpetrators, including members of the security forces, cannot so easily shirk their alleged responsibility for crimes under international law committed since 2015.

“Withdrawal from the Rome Statute does not in any way absolve Burundi of its obligations to end ongoing widespread human rights violations, or to address its abject failure to deliver justice for victims at the national level.

“The ICC can continue its preliminary investigations regardless of Burundi’s efforts to stop its work by withdrawing from the Court. Even if President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government will not cooperate with the Court, the ICC has ways and means to investigate and prosecute the crimes committed.”

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