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media releases - Judge Justice Pillay to receive honorary doctorate from Unisa

Unisa will confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on internationally acclaimed jurist and incumbent United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Justice Navanethem (Navi) Pillay. This is in recognition of her dedication to advance the cause of human rights in South Africa, the African Continent and globally. 

The honorary degree will be conferred at a graduation ceremony to be held at the Unisa Muckleneuk Campus, ZK Matthews Great Hall, Preller Street, Pretoria at 18:00 on Monday, 14 May 2012.

Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya will preside over the graduation ceremony. Justice Pillay will deliver an acceptance speech after conferment of the degree. 

Justice Pillay has had an illustrious career as a jurist, which began in the then Natal Province in 1965. She went on to become the first woman to start a law practice in the province in 1967, with many of her clients coming from liberation movements such as the African National Congress (ANC), Unity Movement, Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO).

A stint as an acting judge in the then Natal Provincial Division in 1995 made her the first black woman and first attorney to serve on the bench in South Africa.

She has also served twice as the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was later followed by appointment as a judge of the International Criminal Court and as President of Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Court.

Judge Pillay is a recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards for her sterling work in the human rights field.  

The media is invited to the graduation ceremony.

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