Former United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Judge Navi Pillay, will deliver the 15th Annual Human Rights Lecture at the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University (SU).
- The lecture, themed South Africa’s Engagement with International Human Rights Law, will take placevia MS Teams at 18:30on Thursday 20 May 2021.
This year’s lecture, which will be presented virtually, forms part of the Law Faculty’s Centenary celebrations and is organised by the HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law at SU, Prof Sandy Liebenberg, together with the Dean of the Law Faculty, Prof Nicola Smit.
Judge Navi Pillay has had an illustrious career as a human rights lawyer and judge both within South Africa and in the global arena. As a legal practitioner, she was involved in defending anti-apartheid activists and challenging the human rights violations of the apartheid regime. She was the first black woman to be appointed as a judge on the High Court in KwaZulu-Natal. She proceeded to hold many distinguished international law positions, including as judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and from 2008 – 2014 as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
During her term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Judge Pillay distinguished herself as a courageous and independent champion of the human rights of disadvantaged and marginalised groups. She also contributed significantly to promoting economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development as an integral part of international human rights law. She has recently been appointed as an ad hoc Judge on the International Court of Justice in the case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar relating to the alleged genocide against the Rohingya people.
“Given the seminal contribution of Judge Pillay to human rights both nationally and internationally, the Law Faculty is delighted that she has accepted the invitation to deliver the 15th Annual Human Rights Lecture during this, the Faculty’s Centenary Year,” says Prof Liebenberg.
According to her, the theme of Judge Pillay’s lecture is particularly relevant given the multiple human rights challenges currently faced by South Africa and the international community.
“She is expected to highlight how international law can assist in developing effective responses to human rights violations within South Africa, as well as the role that the South African Government and other stakeholders should play in contributing to effective international responses to these challenges,” adds Prof Liebenberg.