In recent times there has been great awareness of human rights all over the world, as well as a clamour for rights, both civil and political; and economic, social and cultural. In light of raging conflicts, massive crimes and displacement of populations, some question the relevance of human rights to finding solutions. How can the United Nations, its human rights mechanisms, and all of us as individuals, help to advance the realization of human rights?
The appointment of Navanethem Pillay (Navi) as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was approved by the General Assembly on 28 July 2008 and she assumed her functions on 1st September 2008. On 24 May 2012, the United Nations General Assembly extended her mandate for a further two years which ended in 2014.
She also worked as a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and later was appointed Vice-President of the Council of the University of Durban Westville. In 1995, after the end of apartheid, Ms. Pillay was appointed as acting judge on the South African High Court. In 2003, she was elected as a judge on the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where she remained until August 2008.