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The UN’s human rights chief has had enough

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has reached the end of his tether— and now he’s speaking out

By Tom Fletcher   August 2018

Illustration by Tim McDonagh

The Hague, September 2016. The speech from the UN high commissioner for human rights was not expected to ruffle feathers. A mild appeal to our better angels and then back to the canapés—traditionally, as one UN speechwriter puts it, “we don’t use adjectives, we don’t name names.”

But instead of platitudes, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called out a parade of “xenophobes, populists and racists”: Wilders, Farage, Orbán, Le Pen, Trump and—in the same breath—Islamic State (IS). He shook with rage. The room was stunned into…

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