Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay Visits Belfast

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9 June 2015

Navi Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will visit Belfast later today to deliver a key note speech on human rights and global politics on behalf of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby commented:

“It will be a great honour to welcome the esteemed Ms Navi Pillay to Northern Ireland to deliver the Annual Human Rights Commission Lecture. We look forward to hearing her experiences of human rights globally and to considering how they could be applied to the Northern Ireland context.”

Ms Navi Pillay added:

“It was always a longstanding personal wish of mine to come to Belfast. My experiences as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and as a South African have embedded my belief that Human rights belong to all people worldwide, rich and poor. No single jurisdiction can claim to have a perfect human rights record. There are issues of concern in every country in the world, each must address these issues nationally, and also pay attention to issues that affect them globally. It is in this spirit, I look forward to learning more about Northern Ireland.”

Navi Pillay is a distinguished South African lawyer who was the first woman from the non-white minority to set up her own law practice in Natal. She became a High Court judge in South Africa in 1995. She was then elected to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda subsequently becoming President of the Tribunal. In 2003 Navi was elected to the first panel of judges of the International Criminal Court. From 2008 until 2014 she became the High Commissioner at the United Nations. Her speech in Belfast will be a reflection of her experience of the interaction of international human rights and global political considerations.

Further Information

For further information please contact Claire Martin on or 02890243987.


Notes to editors

1. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.

2. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Lecture will be held on Tuesday 9 June from 4-6pm at the Bar Council in the Royal Courts of Justice.

09 Jun 2015