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Sept 24, 2013

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As UN & EU Launch Spotlight on Women & Girls, ICP Asks How Funds Spent, UN's Own Abuse

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 – A fine sounding initiative of the UN and European Union was announced on September 20, without much detail: the “EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls.” They produced a video that does not explain how or what will be spotlighted, here. Inner City Press went to the UN General Assembly media stakeout to try to find out more. It was not a normal UN stakeout: the participants Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, sat in chairs and were initially questioned by the UN's new head of the Department of Public Information, former journalist Alison Smale. Finally Inner City Press, without benefit of the UNTV boom mic, asked the duo to explain how the money will be spent, through UN agencies or NGOs or even government or prosecutorial agencies. Video here.

Mimica said that civil society will be involved; Mohammed said that the decisions will be made at the country level. (There is currently a proposed reform to put the UN country teams under DSG Mohammed's office rather than UNDP.) Since there had not been a question and answer stakeout after the UN's sexual abuse in peacekeeping meeting earlier in UNGA week, Inner City Press asked how this UN-EU initiative to protect female victims squares with new revelation by Code Blue not only of sexual abuse by peacekeepers, but failure to interview or disclose by the UN itself. Mohammed said this too was shining a spotlight - good - then said “it is not a good thing to say [the UN is] doing nothing about it.” Maybe nothing would be going too far. But many believe that the UN is not doing enough - and we will continue to try to shine a spotlight on that. Watch this site.


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