From Syria and Iraq, to Sri Lanka, Egypt, Ukraine and Gaza and Israel - accusations abound that human rights are violated.

"I think Christianity is under threat [in the Middle East] ... I am very alarmed about what is happening to them."

Navi Pillay, UN human rights chief

Headlines and sharp rhetoric about war crimes and crimes against humanity seem so common that they raise this question: Are we as a global society in fact making progress in protecting human rights because of higher awareness, or are we actually heading in the wrong direction?

Perhaps no one is better equipped to answer this question than Navi Pillay, the highest official in the United Nations responsible for monitoring and investigating human rights abuses around the world.

Describing herself as the "moral voice" that the world created to speak "truth to power", she is approaching the end of her term. 

Asked about the situation in Gaza she says that even if Israel does not cooperate with the war crimes inquiry, her office can still conduct an investigation into human rights violations.

"Both sides [Israel and Hamas] were violating international humanitarian law and international human rights law, specifically the indiscriminate killing of civilians. International law is clear: You do not kill civilians .... Civilians in Israel, civilians in Gaza, children on both sides have a right to live."

Navi Pillay talks to Al Jazeera about the world's conflicts, her legacy, and the state of human rights today.


Source: Al Jazeera