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Human Rights Diplomacy

The UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay gave a lecture to students of the Harvard Law School yesterday. Her keynote address was the culmination of a series of talks and events marking the 25 years of the university’s Human Rights Programme.

UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay speaking to students of Harvard Law School - © Harvard University/Linda GrantThe lecture, entitled “Human Rights Diplomacy: An Oxymoron?” explored the delicate balance between publicly advocating for the protection of human rights and respect for international law, and engaging with governments behind the scenes when working to resolve pressing human rights issues.

“I have found diplomacy to be an effective and for me a new component to what is I believe a more holistic approach to human rights protection” Navi Pillay said. “In addition to building a rapid response capacity for human rights crises, which may often require public advocacy, I think much more can be done to develop long term prevention strategies that include a focus on the institutional capacity of states to respond when human rights are at risk.”

28 October 2009