The United Nations’ high Commissioner for human rights, Navanethem (Navi) Pillay, made her first visit to Denmark to take part in an international conference on inequality and development.
During the visit, Pillay met with Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the foreign minister, and Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), the development minister, to discuss global human rights issues. The Danish government officials used the opportunity to announce that Denmark would double its contribution to the high commissioner's work from 15 to 30 million kroner a year, beginning this year.
"I was very happy for this opportunity to discuss global human rights issues with such a significant and recognised player as Navi Pillay,” said Søvndal. “She and her office play a vital role in transforming international laws regarding human rights into a reality for the individual.”
Søvndal said that he and Pillay discussed the current situation in Bahrain, including the case of the imprisoned Danish-Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
According to the Foreign Ministry website, Søvndal briefed Pillay on Denmark's main priorities in the field of human rights, including efforts to combat torture, the protection of indigenous rights and the promotion of women's rights.
During her visit, Pillay met with other human rights activists during a public meeting arranged by Institut for Menneskerettigheder, the Danish Human Rights Institute.
Pillay’s UN office is tasked with promoting and protecting all human rights throughout the UN’s 60 member states through the development of standards and monitoring of compliance.
She was first selected as the high commissioner for human rights in 2008 and her mandate was extended for two more years in September 2012.