The importance of being Navi Pillay
Posted on June 19th, 2012

Shenali Waduge

Navanethem or Navi Pillay certainly does have a colorful career record. An attorney for over 30 years, the first black woman from South Africa to obtain a doctorate in Law from Harvard and winning numerous accolades and honorary titles for her contribution towards human rights she may be compared to Rosa Parks and admired but holding titles becomes immaterial if despite oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s own harsh background one is not able to place fact from fiction and right from wrong. It is in using oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s international office to take on the challenges that exist balance the law against what is fair and unfair that makes a person respected and not simply because a General Assembly unanimously votes you for a second term because politicians generally think of their own survival only.

A Tamil, born into a poor South Durban neighborhood in South Africa in 1941, despite PillayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s father being a bus driver, Pillay graduated from the University of Natal in 1963, received an LLB in 1965, attended Harvard Law School and obtained an LLM in 1982 and a Doctor of Juridical Science in 1988. She married Gaby Pillay, a lawyer in January 1965. Navi and Gaby have 2 daughters Isvari Pather and Kamini Pillay.

She began practicing law and became the first woman to open her own law practice in 1967 because law firms would not employ her since she was not white. Belonging to the apartheid regime of South Africa, Pillay was denied from entering the judgeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s chambers though she went on to become the first non-white woman on the High Court of South Africa. She was also the first black woman attorney appointed acting judge of the South African Supreme Court. In 2003 she was elected by the UN General Assembly to be one of 18 judges of the ICC going on to become the President of the Tribunal for Rwanda.

She is also honorary chair of Equality Now, she serves on the Board of Directors for Nozala Investments, she hold key positions with Women Lawyers Association, Advise desk for Abused Women, Lawyers for Human Rights, the WomenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s National Coalition, Black Lawyers Association as well as lecturing on legal, human rights, social and gender issues. In recognizing her work she has received the IBA for outstanding international woman lawyer from the National Bar Association. She was elected honorary member of the American Society of International Law.

Like it or not, human rights has become the international norm and the driving force of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-interventionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. It is has been cunningly crafted into a doctrine known as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Responsibility to ProtectƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ which advocates humanitarian intervention, implying powerful countries can deem it legal to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-invadeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ nations if ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-theyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ feel that the leaders of those nations are not looking after its people. Leaders of small, less powerful nations with limited military capability but unlimited natural and geographical advantage need to be more than alert for their nations will end up on that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-targetƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ list of intervention.

In 2008 Navi Pillay was nominated by Ban ki-Moon to succeed controversial figure of Louise Arbour as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She has been unanimously re-elected to continue as the UN human rights chief by the General Assembly including Sri Lanka despite a barrage of accusations against her. Such is the reality of politics where sanity seems to be less of the norm and diplomacy means simply raising oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s hand in agreement with the rest. So whatever hue and cry we have made against Navi PillayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s stance on Sri Lanka becomes irrelevant because Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Government has agreed with the rest that she is the best person to continue. Let us recall Sri Lanka also agreed that Ban Ki-Moon should be voted in for another term as well. So much for all the fuss made over him!

The stand that we take is that a person holding an important role such as Ms. Pillay needs to be more alert about the affairs of the world far more than the statistics issued from various organs of the UN that relies of private bodies that share no desire for fairness or impartiality. Relying on recommendations, statements and verifications from these bodies is tantamount to asking what happened to the gold from the thief.

Whilst we donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t expect miracles to happen from the United Nations which is more or less a private corporation funded by banking elites where over half of its funds are disbursed towards its own staff rather than eliminating poverty, solving housing, water, education or human rights in the absence of any alternative we need to exert pressure that officials chosen to head key positions do their job given that they have the mandate and they have the laws in places to take action. When they do not take action when they can it simply foretells that they have either been instructed not to or they have a different agenda altogether.

All of the misfortunes that have taken place resulting in enormous amounts of deaths and suffering could have been avoided if officials did their role. We all know that the weapons of mass destruction was a sham but how many visits did UN weapons instructors make to Iraq just to keep up the sham? We know that the oil-for-food program ended up with egg thrown at the UN. There are so many other misadventures within the UN system which are generally swept under the carpet and all whistleblowers are generally terminated from holding office for different reasons.

Generally, it takes two to start a fight that was in the old days but chivalry was such that even the victor respected the defeated. Today, there is no requirement for an aggressor since a group of nations sees fit to reign terror as they please upon nations having spent years laying the foundations and waiting for the correct moment to strike.

The UN human rights chief cannot deny she is not aware of the true state of affairs that exist and how nations are engulfed and enveloped into conflicts which are not of their own doing. The UN human rights head has to be aware that the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-rebelsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ of Libya were no rebels, she has to also be aware that the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-rebelsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ of Syria are no rebels either. She cannot also deny that US/NATO are using ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-all necessary meansƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ to arm these mercenaries and why does her office not stop such crimes from taking place. Since when has nations been allowed to arm people to oust leaders? What if such took place in these powerful nations?

Similarly, she cannot deny knowledge of IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s role in Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s conflict. India does not feel shy or embarrassed to openly declare it trained, armed and financed LTTE since 1980s why has no action been taken or initiated against India ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” does this not constitute a crime against Sri Lanka.

Where are her statements against the LTTE? Why does she say nothing about LTTEƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s abduction of children, turning them into child combatants, denying children educationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦she should know the value of education herself coming from a poor home but climbing up to become where she is. As a Tamil, she should have felt empathy towards these innocent Tamil children whose homes were in the jungles and pens were nothing but guns! Instead of saying anything against the LTTE, Ms. Pillay critics the appointment of Shavendra Silva to the advisory panel on peace keeping as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-unfair and unethicalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. Yet, since the Sri Lankan Government has gone on to nominate Ms. Pillay for a second term it is pointless faulting her for past deeds with LTTE now no more.

Nevertheless, what needs to be reiterated that respect from the masses will come when statements issued from the office of the Human Rights head takes issues impartially and fairly. The UN HR head cannot be ignorant of the activities that the US, its allies and NATO are involved in. Ms. Pillay cannot claim to be ignorant of the NATO air strikes specifically targeting civilian infrastructure and essential services throughout Bosnia, Libya, Iraq, AfghanistanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.all these strikes have resulted in irreparable damage and has affected civilians adversely not to mention the cultural heritage it has destroyed. These are all tantamount to war crimes and what we like to know is why is Ms. Pillay reluctant to take on the US, UK, France, the rest of the allies and NATO for their actions on innocent people. Simply adopting a statement covering ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-we appeal to both partiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ just does not mean a thing to those who are suffering as a result of the targeted attacks by these aggressive nations. Tragedies like Rwanda could have been averted but the world allowed and watched scores of humans perish and Ms. Pillay ironically was the President of that Rwanda Tribunal. Justice will never make up for the deaths that could have been stopped.

It is in taking a stand against these aggressors that Ms. Pillay, her office and even the UN will win the respect of the masses. As of now we are extremely disappointed because it is generally the victims that end up being accused of the UNƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s most favored words ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-war crimesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-crimes against humanityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

We do not deny that Ms. Pillay has despite the odds or rather against the odds has made a name for herself and she has certainly made her mark as a woman yet what would make her respected and admired is if she can act fairly and impartially and weigh the right against the wrongs and the truth against fiction because what is told to us by the media manipulated and funded by a select group is not what is taking place in reality. This is the message that needs to be relayed to people who are brainwashed into believing lies and falsehoods. It is solely due to the unfairness and bias within the halls of the UN that it stands accountable for dividing the UN General Assembly into two wings that will end up creating the next catastrophe unless officials put their heads together and start doing their role without political bias!

Shenali Waduge


13 Responses to “The importance of being Navi Pillay”

  1. LankaLover Says:

    Oh Navi Pillai is doing her job by pleasing her Masters to be in her job.. Nothing much!

    There are thousands, perhaps million times severe Human Right abuses happening in the world in many places right now, but she does not care… In Iraq, it is said that over 1 million children died owing to war and sanctions, but our dear Navi does not see them.. She is blind as a bat..

    There are scores being killed in Somalia, Central Africa, Afganistan, and Pakistan daily owing gross human right abuses of her Masters, but she does not see them…

    If she has one country to bash, it is Sri Lanka. It is convenient, it divert attention from her slippages in her duties, and make her Pay Masters happy..

    She is a Tamil, and she wants to get rid of her anger on defeating her darling LTTE terrorists.

    She does not want the anger of Hilary and Obama, who are like gods looking down on her..

    So, she use all her time and energy to vilify and bash Sri Lanka..

    It is a WIN WIN situation for her..

    It is our delegations that are at fault for not calling the Kettle black and expose this woman, and challenge her at the UN.

    She should be kicked out of her office for her disgraceful conduct!

  2. Sri Rohana Says:

    Navinathan Pillai’s behaviour in UNHR is almost similar to street gangster. Her actions and reactions all were based on her tamil tribalism. Therefore she acted and reacted throughout bias and unfairness against Sri Lanka and she favoured tamil terrorist’s agenda.
    I understand that Navinathan Pillai the most substandard and corrupted UNHR head who hold this position. Only during her period she personally initiated many motions against one member state (Sri Lanka). The main reason her to act against one member country is that of eliminate her tribal tamil terrorists from Sri Lanka in 2009.
    She should know that tamil terrorists were curse to Sri Lanka and entire world. They were masters of human smuggling, arms smuggling and drug smuggling. They had the highest number of child solders. The killing of Sinhala civilians were one of the main objects of tamil terrorists. Navinathan Pillai never opens her mouth against her LTTE tamil terrorist pay masters.
    Navinathan Pillai behaved like a bandit and proved that she is not competent enough to hold UNHR secretary general position and she is disgraced to UNO charter. Keep this woman for another period makes UNHR more mockery.

  3. jay-ran Says:

    This illeterate woman’s lop sided behaviour at UNHCR suppressing all killings and damages against innocent Sri Lankans by LTTE over the last 3 decades and the endless bombings and thousands & thousands of civilians KILLINGS by West and NATO in Afaganistan,Iraq,Libiya, and most recently in Siria,Egypt etc, she is not fit even to become a KITCHEN NANNY!!!

  4. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    I agree with Sri Rohana’ statement that………
    .. “I understand that Navinathan Pillai the most substandard and corrupted UNHR head who hold this position. Only during her period she personally initiated many motions against one member state (Sri Lanka). The main reason her to act against one member country is that of eliminate her tribal tamil terrorists from Sri Lanka in 2009″.

    Also, I’m most disappointed that Banki Moon & Navi Pilla were re-appointed with SriLanka supporting them. I think SriLanka must be mad to have supported these two puppets of the West, serving only their interest and ignoring the human rights of the civilians massacred by NATO/US/UK alliance in Yugoslovia, Afganistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya etc The West won these wars by first destroying the civilian infra structure, which too is a war crime also serving as glaring evidence after the war, but Navi Pille canot see these”

  5. Marco Says:

    It appears the author has paved the way for the “important” Navi Pillay to be invited by the Sri Lankan Govt.

    Sri Lanka invites UN human rights chief to visit

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    As soon as Navi Pillai was appointed as head of UNHRC, she declared that she would use her office to stop “Institutionalised discrimination”. In Sri Lanka there is NO Institutionalised Discrimination against any of the citizens here. So she must be referring to the Sri Lanka Tamil Caste Issues, which falls into the category of Institutionalised Discrimination. We too in Sri Lanka would like to see Lanka Tamil Caste discrimination brought to a closure.

    It is a sad fact that international bodies such as the UNHRC deem it fit not to challenge large and powerful countries for their faults, but would readily upbraid small countries such as Sri Lanka.

    In this particular case, she must be hoping that Tamil Nadu would straighten up her record on HR violations re low caste/Dalit origin Tamils if Sri Lanka is upbraided sufficiently by internationalizing the problem.

    On the part of Sri Lanka, our authorities in the past have been very lackadaisical in checking illegal migrants from Tamil Nadu who were almost all Tamil low caste/Dalit origin people. This was probably connected to the Upcountry tea industry using Tamil labor almost exclusively for the purpose of plucking two leaves and a bud.

    Wake up Lanka authorities ! Deport all illegal migrants, including those from Tamil Nadu. Also upgrade dwelling conditions and general welfare of the tea pluckers. Mechanise the tea plucking industry so that all others can also easily participate in this type of work. There are plenty of tea plucking machines available now, most of them made in China.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    What’s wrong in inviting this Tamil terrorist woman when there are 13 Tamil TNA terrorists are already in the country?

    Get rid of those 13 TNA terrorists first and we can handle Navi Pillai dirt easily.

    Even TWO Tamil Madu delegations visited SL in the past 2 years!!

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    “Wake up Lanka authorities ! Deport all illegal migrants, including those from Tamil Nadu.”


    Otherwise ANOTHER Navi Pillai will COME from SL!!

  9. Vijendra Says:

    Mrs. Pillai is typical of the useless and strongly biased organization known as the UN. It is nothing but a “cats paw” to get at any country which in the eyes of the “western warmongers” is a threat to their agenda. As we know, for the UN, human rights depends entirely on who commits them.

    In spite of her education, it appears that either Mrs. Pillai does not have the professional integrity, or she does not have the ability to break away and see beyond the horrible experiences from her own upbringing in an apartheid regime in South Africa(SA). Like most of the Tamil dispora who live in better comfort in the western world with no real idea about how the Tamils live in Sri Lanka(SL), Mrs. Pillai too lives in an imaginary SL based entirely on the LTTE propaganda, which perhaps makes her believe conditions in SL are similar to her own experiences in SA. Anyone who has been to SL knows that this is not true, as Tamils, Sinhalese or Muslims have similar opportunities for education and employment. As a matter of fact, Jaffna had more schools than Colombo, prior to the ethnic war created by the separatist LTTE some 30 years ago.

    Politics in SL has always been divisive. Sinhalese politicians talked to the Sinhala voters. Tamil politicians not only talked only to the Tamil voters, but they also misled them to get their vote using the ethnic card.

    In SL, like in any other developing country, the society is quite diverse. Some are rich while some are poor, but as we all know, some of the Sinhalese are much worse off than some of the less well to do Tamils. On the other hand, some of the Tamils are amongst the most rich in Sri Lanka. If Mrs. Pillai wants to see the reality on the ground in SL, she should visit SL and see things for herself, rather than believing either the Tamil dispora propaganda or the equally biased UN contractors’ reports like the “Darusman” report.

  10. Kit Athul Says:

    Lorenzo, there is Suprem Court case against TNA. Do you know this? If not, you are faster a sleep. Hearing date June 28th 2012. Case number miscellaneous 1/20/12. wake up Lorenzo.

  11. Lorenzo Says:


    Yes, I know.

    It was filed by Jayantha Liyanage from Kurunegala.

    Can’t wait till 29 June or a few days later when the verdict will be out.

  12. Kit Athul Says:

    If Jayantha wins this case then its a victory for Tamils as well. We militarily liberated the Tamils. If Jantha wins then we have liberated them politically as well. Either way verdict of this case will revibrate whoe issue of Treason and espionage acts in to the costitution.

  13. Dham Says:


    Why EPDP is not a respondent ? Why are few more parties with name Eelamm not included ?
    Eelam is there for well alive even if Jayantha wins.

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