Navanethem Pillay – New UN High Commissioner on Human Rights

Pillay UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed a new UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to succeed outgoing Commissioner Louise Arbour: South African Judge Navanethem Pillay who currently serves at the International Criminal Court. She seems like the right person for the job, judging from her short bio on the ICC website:

"In 1967 Judge Pillay became the first woman to start a law practice in Natal Province, South Africa, and the first black woman to serve in the High Court in her country. She has presided over both criminal and civil cases. As a practitioner, Judge Pillay defended many opponents of apartheid. She was then elected by the United Nations General Assembly to be a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she served for eight years, including four years as president. During her term, Judge Pillay was credited with turning the Tribunal towards a more positive course. She has written on and practised in international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and more particularly on crimes of sexual violence in conflicts."

I like her already. And of course, I appreaciate seeing another great woman as Human Rights Commissioner. Sadly, the Office of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights ranks pretty low on the complex UN hierarchy but it is still an important office and, hopefully, Judge Pillay will be able to make her mark. She certainly has her work cut out for her.

This appointment still needs to be approved by the General Assembly.

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