Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
10 December 2004
United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour warned Friday that governments around the world should be careful not to abuse human rights in their fight against terrorism.
The former Canadian Supreme Court judge said the vision and promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were coming under strain.
Arbour cited examples such as the Sudanese province of Darfur and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as instances where human-rights violations had been especially visible in 2004.
Her remarks, which came on International Human Rights Day, identified two major threats. The first was the response to terrorism, which she described as “confused” and in danger of jeopardizing civil liberties.
The second was the constant threat to human rights in areas where there is armed conflict.
UN Human Rights Commission under fire
But Arbour also conceded the UN Human Rights Commission’s reputation had become tarnished due to “posturing and politicking.”
The United Nations is examining large-scale reforms, including to the commission.
Its failure to even discuss the crisis in Darfur this year has caused outrage among many human rights groups and led critics to dismiss it as irrelevant.