UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations' new human rights chief is making an official visit to the United States, the first such visit by the high commissioner since 2007.
The Geneva-based Zeid Raad al-Hussein is in Washington this week to meet with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, other senior Obama administration officials and members of Congress. They will discuss human rights issues both inside the U.S. and overseas, Zeid's office said Tuesday.
Zeid spoke out forcefully in December about the Senate report on the CIA's use of torture, saying it was "crystal clear" under international law that the United States has an obligation to ensure accountability.
He also has expressed concern at the "disproportionate" number of young black Americans who die in encounters with police officers and the high rate of blacks in U.S. prisons and on death row.
His predecessor as human rights chief, Navi Pillay, had asked to make an official visit to the United States but did not receive a response.
Zeid has perhaps closer ties. He has served as Jordan's ambassador to the United States and was Jordan's U.N. ambassador, crossing paths with then-ambassador Rice, before taking his current post in September.
He also has shown interest in making an official human rights visit to China, including the sensitive region of Tibet.