louise arbour

30-Day Mary McDonnell Challenge

Day 14 - Favourite Quote

When asked who Sharon Raydor’s personal hero would be:

“One of them is a woman named Louise Arbour. The international crisis group is founded by Louise after she gave many years of her life to public service. She was the high commissioner for human rights at the UN, she was on the Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia. She was a Canadian supreme court of justice. Her devotion to being able to foresee potential world crises and injustice and abuse of human rights, compelled her to form this group.”

An un-assuming quote perhaps for most of you, but I work at the Yugoslavia Tribunal and I know Louise Arbour and when Mary said this, for a second, I felt like we have an actual connection. And that made me happy.

Also, that she is able to rattle off this much information about a woman most people have never even heard of. *bows down to Mary McDonnell*

Versus War on Drugs Debate: Is it time to end the war on drugs?

Louise Arbour is President of the International Crisis Group and Geoffrey Robertson is a leading human rights lawyer.

Louise Arbour: This is a made-up war. I think it’s absolutely clear. It looks very real because it’s now fought in many countries as a real war, but the rhetoric of the war on drugs discloses a completely failed policy. If you have a war, presumably, at some point, you should be able to determine that you’ve won it, possibly some kind of exit strategy. When is it going to be won, this fifty year old war? When we have a drug-free world? That’s not going to happen in my lifetime, or in my children’s lifetime, or in my grandchildren’s lifetime.

Geoffrey Robertson: And does the notion that it’s a war give the police a kind of license to go after people?

LA: Of course. It’s all this rhetoric. In war times, you can have emergency measures and all kinds of extraordinary law enforcement powers. And of course there are two sides, so the other side are the bad guys, these ‘terrible’ people. The rhetoric cannot be underestimated. But it seems to me that what we also have to recognize is that it’s an objective that is unattainable. There is a gigantic appetite for all kinds of psychoactive substances: alcohol, tobacco, use of prescription drugs. I don’t think we need to make the case that we will eliminate that.

GR: You heard [the other side’s] argument, and [it is that] you need these laws, you need the threat of prison stigma in order to make treatment work. As a former chief prosecutor, does that argument work with you?

LA: You don’t need to treat everybody. Not everybody is an alcoholic. A lot of people have a drink. Not everybody is an addict. Those who are, are in very profound distress, and to link them to this criminal underworld only adds to their predicaments…You can’t make the argument that you need both treatment and a big stick of imprisonment.

Watch the debate here 

Watch on crisisgroup.tumblr.com

Click above to listen to Crisis Group President & CEO Louise Arbour speak to UN Dispatch’s Mark Leon Goldberg about the mass atrocities committed in the waning days of Sri Lanka’s civil war (7:42). President Arbour discusses accountability for war crimes at 12:05.


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Watch Louise Arbour and Kofi Annan on the responsibility to protect, Comfort Ero on the militarisation of peacekeeping, Thomas Pickering on UN Security Council reform, and George Soros on the breakdown of the rule of law.

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A few more shots from last week’s award dinner in New York City.

Click here for video of the Secretary’s complete remarks.

And check out the short tribute videos for our honorees, four extraordinary women: Sihem Bensedrine (Tunisia), Shukri Ismail (Somaliland), Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey (Guatemala) and Sima Samar (Afghanistan).

Watch on crisisgroup.tumblr.com

Click above to listen to Crisis Group President & CEO Louise Arbour speak to UN Dispatch’s Mark Leon Goldberg about the mass atrocities committed in the waning days of Sri Lanka’s civil war (7:42), how her early experiences in Quebec shaped her work (17:28), and her experience as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (29:45). Toward the end, Ms. Arbour discusses the challenge of bridging criminal law and human rights (43:03).

Crisis Group thanks outgoing President & CEO Louise Arbour

Brussels  |   30 Jun 2014

The International Crisis Group wishes to thank Louise Arbour for her five years of service as President & CEO. A long-time supporter of Crisis Group, Louise served on the Board of Trustees before taking up her post at the helm of the organisation in 2009. As she concludes her tenure today, the Board of Trustees and the staff send to her all best wishes upon returning to life in her native Canada.

In recognition of Louise’s remarkable career and, in particular, her impact on the field of conflict prevention and resolution, Crisis Group recently launched The Louise Arbour Fund for Emerging Conflicts. This fund will serve to ensure the organisation is equipped to respond swiftly to new and deadly conflicts and will stand in tribute to Louise’s legacy.  

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, recently said of Louise that her “energy, dedication, and intellectual and moral integrity are inspiring for all of us”. Crisis Group would like to echo that sentiment and end by saying thank you to Louise for her tireless work on behalf of the organisation these past five years.

Crisis Group will soon be making an announcement regarding the appointment of the next president.