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Morocco Tries But Fails to Strike W. Sahara Rights NGO from UN Applicants' List

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 24 -- Even as Morocco tries to remove UN envoy Christopher Ross as mediator on Western Sahara, Thursday in the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Morocco asked to "close the case" of a human rights applicant, the Bureau International pour le respect des droits de l'homme au Sahara Occidental.

  The Moroccan delegate in the Committee -- not the country's Permanent Representative or his Deputy, seen earlier on Thursday at the meeting granting Navi Pillay two more years as Human Rights Commissioner -- said that the group's three responses were "propaganda" and that it should be struck from the list of groups seeking accreditation.

  There was silence in the conference room, which the Moroccan delegate later said might be a sign of acceptable. But then Morocco's proposal was opposed -- by the United States.

  As Inner City Press has already covered, yesterday the US asked to close the case of a Sudan-based NGO, saying it supports terrorists. "Show us some evidence," a Sudanese diplomat crowed Thursday to Inner City Press, basking in its "victory" over the US.

  Now, the US said it had not thought that the question letter to the NGO was a step toward removing it from the list of applicants. After more silence, Belgium advised Morocco to, what else, ask more questions. But Morocco again urged that the group's case be closed.

  "There is no consensus for this," Morocco was told, even by usual allies. Finally the Moroccan representative reversed course and said he has no problem leaving the group on the list of deferred applications, to give Committee members time to read the responses and "consult capitals."

  Essentially, the can was just kicked down the road. Morocco couldn't get the case closed, but nor did the group get accredited. Morocco said it supports human rights, but along with its supporter France has opposed any human rights monitoring mechanism in the MINURSO mission, the nominated SRSG of which Morocco has also blocked. Watch this site.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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