Canadian MP, Israel advocate Irwin Cotler to retire from politics

February 5, 2014 20:00

Jewish former Canadian Justice Minister and vocal pro-Israel advocate MP Irwin Cotler announced that he will not seek reelection at the conclusion of his current parliamentary term on Wednesday.

“I have enjoyed the honour and privilege of serving my riding, Parliament, and the Canadian people as a whole for close to fifteen years,” Cotler wrote on Facebook. “I look forward to completing my mandate and continuing the pursuit of justice in other arenas.”

An expert on international human rights law, Cotler explained in a blog post that he first saw political service as a “temporary sabbatical” from his calling as a professor and advocate. He said that he was “particularly proud” of his work, as Minister, in combating human trafficking, securing the right of gays and lesbians to marry and in quashing wrongful convictions.

A staunch advocate of Israel, Cotler has defended in the Jewish state in international forums and chaired the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism. He served as counsel to such leading human rights campaigners and political leaders as Nelson Mandela, Natan Sharansky, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, and Jacobo Timerman.

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