UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on a ten-day tour of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states

April 14, 2010

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will on Saturday begin a ten-day tour of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the UN media office in Bahrain has said.

“This is an unprecedented effort by the UN human rights office to engage more actively and effectively with the governments and civil society in the region,” Nejib Friji, head of the UN media office, said on Wednesday afternoon. “Pillay will seek to gain first-hand understanding of current dynamics in the GCC region in relation to human rights, including reported progress in some areas as well as specific issues of particular concern,” he said.

She will also examine ways in which her office can provide further support and advice to the individual GCC countries.

Pillay will start the tour in Saudi Arabia, before moving on to Qatar on April 19 and Kuwait on April 20. She will travel to Bahrain on April 21 before moving on to the United Arab Emirates on April 23 before concluding the tour with a two-day stay in Oman on April 25-26.

“Although Pillay visited Qatar in May 2009 in order to open a new UN Human Rights Training and Documentation Centre, this year’s visit marks the first time that a High Commissioner for Human Rights has visited all six GCC States during the same mission,” Friji said. “It is also the first time a High Commissioner for Human Rights visits Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates or Oman. Bahrain in 2002 received the then High Commissioner Mary Robinson,” he said.

She is expected to meet with leaders, senior ministers, government officials and members of civil society.

Pillay, a South African of Tamil descent, she was the first non-white woman on the High Court of South Africa and also served as a judge of the International Criminal Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Her four-year term as High Commissioner for Human Rights began on 1 September 2008.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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