Top UN human rights official arrives in India

March 22nd, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who arrived in New Delhi Sunday on a two-day trip is expected to meet External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram as well as senior government officials and members of the judiciary besides delivering a keynote lecture at the National Human Rights Commission.
Pillay arrived here from Nepal where in separate meetings with President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda she discussed the human rights situation in the Himalayan nation.

This is Pillay’s first official visit to Asia since taking up her post last September.

While in Nepal, she surveyed one of the largest country operations of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

After arriving here, Pillay met activists from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a national human rights organisation, including its president K.G. Kannabiran and other office bearers including S. Balamurugan and Dr. V. Suresh.

Some of the activists expressed concern at the rapidly deteriorating conditions facing civilians trapped in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka and of alleged human rights abuses as well as the huge displacement of civilian population.

Pillay, 68 was an attorney and conveyancer of the High Court of South Africa from 1967 to 1995, and was the first woman to start a law practice in South Africa’s Natal Province, providing legal defence for opponents of apartheid, according to the UN website.

While in South Africa, she co-founded the Advice Desk for the Abused and ran a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

As a member of the Women’s National Coalition, she contributed to the inclusion in South Africa’s Constitution of an equality clause prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of race, religion and sexual orientation

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