Arbour to leave U.N. post


The U.N. human rights commissioner reportedly plans not to seek a second term.

Louise Arbour, a Canadian judge and war crimes prosecutor, will tell the U.N. Human Rights Council next week that she will leave the post when her current four-year term ends in June, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Arbour, 61, endured criticism from multiple sides. Most recently, when she praised the ratification in December of an Arab human rights charter, she was excoriated by Israeli and U.S. officials for failing to note that it equated Zionism with Racism; when she revisited the charter last month and criticized its attacks on Zionism and its weak protections of women and children, Arab nations complained.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Arbour’s most acerbic congressional critic, called her departure “the first step toward saving the broken UN human rights infrastructure from itself.”

According to Reuters’ sources, she is not leaving because she was pressured.

The Montreal Gazette reported that she was frustrated by efforts by repressive regimes on the 47-nation council, led by Cuba, Algeria and China, to control her office; the commissioner has been independent of any U.N. office since the position was created in 1994.

Recommended from JTA