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South African Judge Nominated as UN Human Rights Chief


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has nominated a South African judge known for her work opposing apartheid to be High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. Ban said Navanethem Pillay's "outstanding credentials in human rights and justice" make her the right candidate to replace the former High Commissioner, Louise Arbour.

During the selection process, the United States expressed concern about Pillay's candidacy, because of her position on issues like abortion and reproductive freedoms. But the U.S. envoy to the U.N., Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday he looked forward to working with Pillay.

Pillay currently serves as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

In 1967, Pillay became the first black woman to serve on the High Court of her country.

She has presided over cases involving international criminal law, humanitarian law and human rights law, especially crimes involving sexual violence in conflicts.

The nomination must be approved by the U.N. General Assembly.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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