UN rights chief slams 'pernicious' Security Council-veto use

The U.N. human rights chief has accused the veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council of being second only to criminals who kill and maim when it comes to responsibility for some of the world's most egregious rights violations.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein delivered one of the strongest denunciations yet from a top U.N. official about improper use of the Security Council veto, which gives extraordinary powers to the five countries that wield it: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Speaking to the U.N. Human Rights Council, he didn't specify cases when it was used improperly.

Zeid instead spoke more broadly and decried "some of the most prolific slaughterhouses of humans in recent times" in Syria, Congo, Yemen, Burundi and Myanmar.

Zeid, a Jordanian prince, leaves office in August.