High Commissioner’s Keynote Address Human Rights Day, 2009

In her keynote address to commemorate Human Rights Day 2009, High Commissioner Navi Pillay has spoken of this year’s special focus: embrace diversity, end discrimination. Pillay is in South Africa where she has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Pretoria. She received the Doctorate at a ceremony for students graduating from the Master’s Degree Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation.

Navi Pillay was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of PretoriaPillay noted that “despite our best efforts in the name and for the sake of human rights, despite guarantees in international and national law, discrimination and inequality continue to affect countless human beings in all regions of the world.”

The High Commissioner detailed areas of specific concern: racial and ethnic discrimination, the condition of women and vulnerable minorities, discrimination based on religion or belief, the exclusion of those perceived as outsiders and the marginalization of many indigenous people. “It is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic, and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she said.

10 December, 2009