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Tang Prize rule of law laureate given key United Nations job

2017/03/20 23:01:24

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) The Tang Prize Foundation said Monday that it was pleased and honored to learn that Louise Arbour, the winner of its rule of law award of 2016, has been named the United Nations Secretary General's special representative on international migration.

Foundation CEO Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川) said he admired the Canadian lawyer's courage in taking up such a critical post at a time when the world is confronted with a humanitarian crisis emanating from international migration.

Arbour's law firm in Montreal, BLG, issued a statement on her new job on March 9.

"We are thrilled that Louise has accepted this prestigious position to advance important questions around migration at a time when countries around the world are facing substantial challenges and related debates on this important issue," the statement said.

Sean Weir, national managing partner and CEO of BLG, said "Louise has the knowledge and experience to make a positive impact, and she is an inspiration for all generations to show how we can actively make the world a better place."

Chen said Arbour's new job is an indication of the United Nations' confidence in her legal expertise and professional ability to handle difficult issues in a cool and objective manner.

"We are confident that she will use the principle of the rule of law as promoted by the Tang Prize to advance public good around the world," he said.

The Tang Prize was awarded to Arbour "for her enduring contributions to international criminal justice and the protection of human rights, to promoting peace, justice and security at home and abroad, and to working within the law to expand the frontiers of freedom for all," according to the Tang Prize citation.

After winning the honor, Arbour told CNA she hoped the recognition -- "the highest possible recognition for my work" -- "will inspire young lawyers to realize that it's a gift to work in this legal profession that gives us the tools to advance the rule of law for the benefit of all people."

During an interview with CBC after being given the U.N. job, Arbour said, "there is an acknowledgment that human mobility is unstoppable. It has already been there. So to bring safety and order into it is ambitious."

She seemed fully aware of the broad scope of her new challenge, which will not include refugees.

"People are sort of forced to move to find ways of making a living. Then there's a whole range of economic migrants, some for shorter terms, there's seasonal workers, there's human trafficking, which is forced, criminal, illegal migration. So it's all these issues," she said in the interview.

"We're looking at an environment in which this, I think, requires a lot of strategic effort by member states to regulate something that will be an increasing phenomenon."

(By S.C. Chang)