Liberals want Louise Arbour, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, to lead pa
Date: Saturday, February 18 2006
Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Liberal insiders want UN's top human rights fighter to clean up the party.
By David Beers
Published: February 17, 2006
She told the U.S. to shut down its prison camp in Cuba. And she's being asked to make a bid to be the next leader of the Liberals, according to party insiders.
Former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour, head of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, is seen to carry the iron-clad credibility the Liberals need in a post-Gomery world. Sources say a "Draft Arbour" campaign is in the exploratory stage and gaining momentum.
If Arbour does enter the contest, she would bring intellect and international experience to easily rival that of another "outsider" in the running: Michael Ignatieff. But Arbour would make a sharp contrast to Ignatieff, who has publicly backed the U.S. war in Iraq and even justified the use of "coercive interrogations".
Yesterday, Arbour's commission released a report strongly condemning the "arbitrary detention" in Guantanamo's prison of about 500 suspected terrorists. The way America captured and continues to keep prisoners violates international law, declares the report, with the U.S. government operating "as judge, prosecutor and defence counsel."
Arbour said she saw little alternative to shutting down the prison, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan backed her view, urging the camp be closed "as soon as possible."
The commission's 54-page report was prepared by five human rights experts investigating for 18 months. The authors conclude that Guantanamo's detainees should either be released or given a trial outside of the U.S. military tribunal system.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 19, 2006]