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Sudan Defeats US Move to Exclude NGO, As Another Brags of Bank of America

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 24 -- In the UN's Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations usually it is Sudan and countries like it seeking to exclude groups and the United States and its allies pushing for admission. But on May 23 the roles were reversed, and as Sudan's Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told Inner City Press afterward, "we defeated them."

  At issue was the request by the US to permanent exclude or "close the application" of the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), a Sudan-based group which the US in 2006 accused of supporting Al Qaida. At that time, IARA's application was withdrawn, and now the US sought to permanently exclude it.

  Invoking groups' rights to respond to such charges, Sudan made a "no-action" motion seeking to defeat the US' proposed exclusion of the group. The presence of a Permanent Representative or "Number One Ambassador" like Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman in the NGO committee is rare. As Inner City Press spoke with him, representatives of the US looked on. But due process is due process.

  The reported vote breakdown was interesting: voting with Sudan were China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Senegal, Venezuela, Russia -- and elected Security Council member Morocco, which on May 21 voted with the Arab Group seeking to exclude from the Rio + 20 conference two Israeli NGOs which it's said do business in the Occupied Territories. (Click here for Monday's story from Inner City Press.)

  The US garnered only four supporters: Israel, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Peru, United States). Registering abstentions were Kyrgyzstan and India, which chairs anti-terrorism / sanctions subsidiaries of the Security Council.

  Inner City Press attended the May 21 and May 22 session as well, as the only media present as question after question was raised about the sufficiency of groups' applications.

  During these sessions the US said very little, including as one NGO the World Habitat Foundation spoke about issuing mortgages in partnership with "Merrill Lynch," since acquired by Bank of America. And so it goes at the UN.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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