UN rights chief defends speaking out against rights abuses

The UN human rights chief is defending his outspoken criticism of rights abuses in dozens of countries from Myanmar and Hungary to the United States, insisting that his office doesn't "bring shame on governments, they shame themselves".

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told a farewell press conference at UN headquarters on Thursday that "silence does not earn you any respect – none".

Looking back at his four-year term as UN high commissioner for human rights, the Jordanian prince said he will give his successor the same advice his predecessor, Navi Pillay, gave him – "be fair and don't discriminate against any country" and "just come out swinging".

Zeid said he leaves the post on August 31 very concerned about populism, intolerance and oppression "becoming fashionable again", which could lead to conflict.

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