Human Rights Chief receives Golden Plate Award

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged all to make the struggle for human rights a daily feature of our lives when she received the Golden Plate Award in recognition of her achievements in international law and human rights.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visits Cité Soleil, a poor neighbourhood in Port-au-PrinceMINUSTAH - Marco Dormino"Human empathy, common purpose and solidarity directly emanate from our kinship in rights,” Pillay said when she addressed the 48th International Achievement Summit, held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3 to 7 July, as a recipient of the 2009 Golden Plate Award.

“Our own achievements would only be half-realized were we to leave our kin behind without a thought, without extending a helping hand, or without a determination to share our good fortune,” she said.

The annual award, administered by the American Academy of Achievement, honors individuals who have made a significant difference in today’s world through efforts in their own field of endeavour.

“No matter what particular field of activity we pursue, we should not lose sight of the fact that the enjoyment of human rights enriches us all.” Pillay emphasized that “when human dignity is undercut or denied by human rights violations, then such abuse affects all of us.”

“Turmoil, human rights violations, and economic downturns are to be found at the roots of, and compound the vulnerability of the most marginalized people in our societies. These people’s attainment of dignified and fulfilling life conditions concern all of us,” she told delegates at the achievement summit, among them 250 student representatives from 40 countries.

“In short, it is our collective duty, in each and every walk of life, to make the struggle for human rights a permanent task, a daily feature of our lives. Fulfilling this duty to the best of our abilities is the yardstick with which our ‘net worth’ and our achievements should ultimately be measured.”

6 July 2009