Judge Navi Pillay on the Importance of Socio-Economic Rights

The Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Judge Navi Pillay addressed the launch of Amarightza, the new programme of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) and the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) in partnership with the European Union (EU) on 10 December 2014 at Constitution Hill.

Judge Pillay is South Africa’s first black female judge, after becoming the first South African woman of colour to open her own law office. Navi Pillay who served as the United Nations High Commissioner from September 2008 until September this year has been hailed as the world’s most powerful and effective champion of human rights for the past six years. 

Navi Pillay’s many battlefields during her six years in office include Sri Lanka; she has briefed the UN Security Council more times than all her predecessors combined. She has also incurred fury from both sides in the Gaza wars. In August 2014, she criticized the international community over its "paralysis" in dealing with the more than 3-year old Syrian Civil War, which by April 30, 2014 had resulted in 191,369 deaths.

In bidding Navi Pillay farewell the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said she had  significantly strengthened OHCHR’s field presence, and responded quickly and nimbly to crises. And she has been an indispensable partner in advancing the Rights Up Front initiative, which seeks to strengthen the UN’s response to threats of serious human rights violations.

Read Judge Pillay’s speech