UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs among laureates of inaugural Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honor


Geneva – UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs was awarded the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honor today in Madrid at a ceremony hosted by H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain and organized by the World Jurist Association.

The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honor is a new international recognition, established by the World Jurist Association and presented for the first time this year.

The honor was bestowed today on eight distinguished female jurists and leaders from around the world including Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza, Vice-President of the International Criminal Court, Maite Oronoz, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, Navi Pillay, Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa, Rosario Silva de Lapuerta, Vice- President of the European Court of Justice, Sujata Manohar, retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India and Young Hye Kim, Senior Judge, Commissioner at National Human Rights Commission.

The World Jurist Association awards the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honor in recognition of inspiring women jurists who fight to defend and strengthen the rule of law and to consolidate society’s advances in gender equity.

Background notes:

World Jurist Association (WJA)

The World Jurist Association was founded in 1963 in the United States with the mission of achieving a world governed by the law and not by force. It is a non-governmental organisation with special consultative status in the United Nations, present in 85 countries. The World Law Foundation is the result of the Madrid Declaration of 2019 proclaimed during the World Law Congress, with the aim of strengthening the work of promoting the rule of law as a guarantor of freedom.

Biography of Ms. Gillian Triggs

UN Assistant Secretary-General

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection

Gillian Triggs is a UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection with UNHCR, taking up her appointment in September 2019. She is a public international lawyer who has held a number of appointments in service to human rights and the refugee cause, including as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Gillian oversees UNHCR’s protection work in support of millions of refugees, asylum-seekers, those who have been forcibly displaced within their own country and stateless.

A dual national of Britain and Australia, Ms Triggs has held a number of leadership roles, including as Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London, President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, Chair of the UN Independent Expert Panel of Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment in UNAIDS, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor (Emerita) of International Law at the University of Sydney, and Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

Gillian has supported many not-for-profit groups, including most recently as Chair of Justice Connect, that connects 10,000 lawyers to provide pro bono advice to asylum-seekers and others needing legal support. She is also the author of many books and papers on international law, including ‘International Law: Contemporary Principles and Practice, (2nd ed. 2011) and Speaking Up (2018).

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