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UN rights chief stepping down in June: report

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] will not seek a second term when her commission ends on June 30, the Washington Post reported Monday citing anonymous sources. While serving as the UN's top human rights official, the Canadian-born Arbour has frequently spoken out against rights abuses by world powers, including the United States in the context of the "war on terror." Most recently, she said the US practice of waterboarding, not currently used by intelligence officials, is "clearly torture" under international definitions of the term, and criticized the Bush administration [JURIST report] for defending its past use of the interrogation technique. She has also pressed for greater respect for human rights in Darfur and the Middle East. The Washington Post has more.

Arbour was appointed [JURIST report] to her position in 2004 after 5 years as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. She succeeded Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in a 2003 suicide bomb attack on UN offices in Baghdad. Arbour served as chief war crimes prosecutor for the UN in the late 1990s.

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