The South African lawyer and human rights’ attorney Navi Pillay is giving the Mandeville lecture on 9 June 2016. She will receive the accompanying honorary doctorate at the same time.

Pillay was High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations from 2008 to 2014. She has previously been the first non-white judge at the South African High Court, President of the Rwanda tribunal and judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Fight against inequality, injustice and violence

Honorary Supervisors Kirsten Henrard, Professor of Human Rights at the Erasmus School of Law, and Karin Arts, Professor of International Law and Development from the International Institute of Social Studies, will present the honorary doctorate. The title is being given to Pillay because of her ‘long-term fight against inequality, injustice and violence’. During her career, the South African lawyer has acted for vulnerable groups of women, minorities, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender persons.

The Mandeville lecture is an initiative from the university, the Rotterdam business community and the Erasmus Trust Fund. An official honorary doctorate is also connected to the ceremony from this year. The distinction is intended as a token of appreciation of the invited speaker’s services to society. People including media magnate Joop van den Ende, former ECB boss Jean Claude Trichet and Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, have preceded Pillay.