Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to Deliver Important Address at AUWCL

Presentation on “International Human Rights Treaty System” to Take Place Oct. 1


Read the High Commissioner's Remarks

"I've learned about the courses and clinics in human rights that are conducted here. You must be one of the few in the world with this level of interest and work in human rights." - UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay delivers address to AUWCL community on Oct. 1, 2013.

Judge Dorothy Beasley, Dean's Advisory Council Member, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2013 – American University Washington College of Law is pleased to welcome Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for an important address, “The International Human Rights Treaty System and Its Impact at the International and Domestic Level.” The event will take place Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 1 pm in room 603 at the law school.

In her address, the High Commissioner will discuss the role of the international treaty system in the protection and promotion of human rights, its interaction with other mechanisms, and its relevance as a preventive early warning system. She will also address the impact of the work of treaty bodies on the ground, where it matters most. The event is hosted by the Dean’s Advisory Council to honor Dean Claudio Grossman’s role as the Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies.

“American University Washington College of Law is honored to welcome the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to our law school," said Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College of Law. "The High Commissioner is a towering figure in the fight to protect and promote human dignity. Her address comes at a critical juncture for the treaty system strengthening process and at a time of deep human tragedies in numeous places. Our law school community, which for many decades has contributed to the advancement of human rights and international law both nationally and internationally through a wide array of programs, centers, experiential education, and other unique initiatives and service, deeply values the High Commissioner’s leadership and efforts on these vital issues.”

Navi Pillay was appointed as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on July 28, 2008.  She began serving in Sept. 2008, and her mandate was renewed in Sept. 2012 for another two years.  Ms. Pillay is a South African national and in 1967, she was the first woman to start a law practice in Natal.  She worked on anti-apartheid issues, exposed torture, and helped establish rights for prisoners.  She has also worked as a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and served as the Vice-President of the Council of the University of Durban Westville.  After apartheid ended, Ms. Pillay was appointed to serve as an acting judge on the South African High Court and that same year she was elected to serve as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she served for eight years.  In 2003, she was appointed to serve as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where she served for five years.

While serving as a member of the Women’s National Coalition in South Africa, Pillay contributed to the clause in the country’s Constitution that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.  She also co-founded Equality Now and has worked on issues that concern children, detainees, victims of torture and domestic violence.  Ms. Pillay has a BA and a LLB from Natal University South Africa.  She also has a Master of Law and a Doctorate of Juridical Science from Harvard University.

More information about the event.

Media inquiries can be directed to Megan Smith, assistant director of public relations, 202-274-4276.


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