United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to name abortion advocate Navanethem “Navi” Pillay of South Africa as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) this week despite reservations from the United States.
According to the New York Times, the United States has privately raised concerns about Pillay’s nomination to the top human rights post because of her strong support for abortion. Pillay is a founding member of the international non-governmental organization Equality Now, a group that has spearheaded campaigns for abortion access in Poland and Nepal. Pillay remains on the board of the organization which receives major funding from pro-abortion foundations including George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation.
In her interview with the Judicial Service Commission in 1994 when she was being considered for membership to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, Pillay expressed concern that including a “right to life” article in the South African Constitution would create problems in relation to abortion. “This is the one clause [the pro-life lobby] are going to latch on to for their cause…” Pillay said.
During that interview, Pillay also expressed concern that the constitutional article did not define whether or not such a right begins at conception, leaving it “open to litigation” which could potentially threaten women’s “reproductive rights.” When pressed on why she would be so opposed to a reasoned debate on the issue, she responded with the question, ‘why have not other rights been put in there as patently as this one which would be the woman’s right to, reproductive rights, for instance?”
Pillay became prominent for her role as presiding judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a post she occupied from 1995 until her appointment to the International Criminal Court in 2003. Pillay has been a favorite among women’s groups and is consistently endorsed by feminist NGOs for top level jobs at the UN, including Secretary General. Radical feminist NGOs first endorsed Pillay for the High Commissioner on Human Rights post four years ago, but the job went to Canada’s Louise Arbour.
The High Commissioner is the principal UN official with responsibility for human rights and is accountable to the Secretary-General. According to UNHCR definition, the High Commissioner is charged with the task of leading the international human rights movement by acting as a “moral authority” and coordinating and streamlining human rights within the UN system. This would include all of the human rights treaty monitoring bodies which have increasingly overstepped their mandates to pressure more than 60 sovereign nations on their abortion laws in recent years.
Critics are concerned that Pillay will adopt the same positions on social issues as her predecessors, Canada’s Louise Arbour and Ireland’s Mary Robinson. Both Arbour and Robinson support abortion as a human right. Both also enthusiastically endorse the “Yogyakarta Principles,” a document claiming homosexual rights as binding human rights including same-sex “marriage,” adoption by homosexual couples and state-funded sex change operations.
A formal announcement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Pillay’s nomination is expected this week.