International Law
03 June 2019

Doing Peace the Rights Way: A Tribute to Louise Arbour

On 27 May 2019, a public event entitled “An Evening with Louise Arbour – The Rule of Law in the Face of Contemporary Human Rights Challenges” was held at the Graduate Institute, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Canadian Partnership for International Justice, to pay tribute to Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and, more recently, former UN Special Representative for International Migration.

“I think we can and we should reflect on where we stand on our reliance on the rule of law, which in my view, has been, and continues to be, the most useful organising principle”, said Mrs Arbour, in her keynote address. […] And as we might be concerned with some erosion of the rule of law, both as a norm and in its application, we should be reminded of the cost of leaving it behind.”  

Mrs Arbour’s address was followed by a panel discussion which included: Andrew Clapham, Professor of Public International Law, the Graduate Institute; Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination; Fannie Lafontaine, Professor of Law at Laval University, Quebec City; and William Schabas, Professor of International Law, Middlesex University in London. 

“I think human rights is going through a rocky patch”, said Professor Clapham. “[…] we have, sort of, politics overriding law in a way. Do we have here politics over law or is it politician’s attitudes to law that are changing?” 

The event  marked the launch of the book, Doing Peace the Rights Way: Essays in International Law and Relations in Honour of Louise Arbour, in which contributions by world leaders and experts challenge basic assumptions and bring fresh thoughts to debates at the core of the world’s agenda.

Watch the full conference video from “An Evening with Louise Arbour”. 

Read the interview with Louise Arbour published in Le Temps: "Louise Arbour: «Le repli nationaliste des démocraties est inquiétant»"

Interview with Louise Arbour and Professor of International Law, Andrew Clapham.