Campus Life

Navi Pillay speaks at Steve Biko annual lecture

Photo credit: UCT website

Photo credit: UCT website


South Africa has a “principled voice”, which comes from its fight against apartheid, which influenced the United Nations (UN) human rights agenda. It should therefore do more to uphold these fundamental rights.

This was the message from Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who delivered the 15th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture on 11 September. In her speech, titled Advancing Human Rights in South Africa and the world, she reflected on her eight-year tenure as the United Nation’s highest official concerned with human rights.

She also served as a judge in the International Criminal Court, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

Pillay retired from her position at the UN a mere eleven days before delivering the lecture, in which she added her “voice to the worldwide acclaim for [Biko] and his courageous contribution to the liberation of South Africa”. She praised Biko for his part in dismantling apartheid and informing human rights norms and standards.

Directly taken from: UCT Website