CAMDEN, NJ— A former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will deliver a free public lecture and receive a prestigious award from Rutgers Law School in Camden this week.

His Royal Highness Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018, will receive the Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Human Rights Award from Rutgers Law School in Camden on Wednesday, April 3.

In addition to the award, the international human rights advocate will deliver a free public lecture at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, in Room 106 in the Rutgers Law School at 217 North 5th Street on the Rutgers University–Camden campus.

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Named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court justice, the Brennan Award is presented by Rutgers Law School to a foreign lawyer or judge who has made a notable contribution toward establishing or defending human rights and the rule of law. Brennan presented the first award in his name at Rutgers University–Camden in 1986.

Previous awardees have included the first woman lawyer in Korea, a distinguished Indonesian human rights lawyer and the first woman judge in Botswana, who has also been a tireless advocate of adequate treatment for those afflicted by HIV/AIDS.

As the sixth U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ra’ad Al Hussein was outspoken in his efforts to promote and protect what the United Nations Charter of 1945 calls “human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

Earlier, in his capacity as deputy permanent representative of Jordan to the United Nations and then Jordan’s permanent representative, he was deeply involved in the negotiations to create the International Criminal Court and to get it up and running. He has been a firm supporter of this addition to the architecture of international law, a body which is designed to protect human rights and also, in the words of the preamble to the charter of the United Nations, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”  

A former Jordanian peacekeeper and a strong critic of discrimination against and the sexual exploitation of women, he was appointed by the U.N. Secretary-General in 2004 to write the first comprehensive report on eliminating sexual exploitation and abuse committed by United Nations peacekeepers. As he explained in the report, “a peacekeeping operation cannot legitimately advise the Government on adherence to international human rights standards and legal and judicial reform if its own peacekeeping personnel are engaging in acts of sexual exploitation and abuse, including such crimes as rape.”

Zeid currently is the Perry World House Distinguished Global Leader-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.

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