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As Dubai Jails Woman Reporting Rape for 16 Months, No UN Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 19, updated twice -- A Norwegian woman who went to work in Dubai and reported being raped there in March has now been sentenced to 16 months in jail for having sex out of wedlock.

At the UN in New York, Inner City Press on Friday asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if the UN Secretariat had any comment on the jail sentence. Video here from Minute 15:40.

I don't think so, no,” Nesirky said. "I'm not dismissing this story, I'm simply don't have any comment on that. I'd need to check further in case there was any comment.  I think where there are individual cases, it's not always appropriate for the UN Secretariat to comment, but that doesn't mean that I won't look into it." Video here, from Minute 16:02.

 It may sometimes be true that "in individual cases it is not always appropriate for the UN Secretariat to comment," but here the woman stayed quiet from March until this week hoping it would help. It did not.

She has come forward, saying her name is Marte Dalelv and she was recruited to work in Dubai by a company called The One -- which fired her after she reported being raped.

The One's website still plays music, and lists in Dubai “Fusion Al Quoz Theatre & Deli, Jumeirah Theatre & Deli, Mall of the Emirates Theatre, THE One Outlet and Wafi Boutique Theatre,” as well as locations in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia and Qatar.

  The CEO of The One, Thomas Lundgren, has been tweeting Instagram photos of himself watching black and white TV with his grandmother, most recently on July 16. Sounds like UNsocial media.

  Ban Ki-moon, it should be noted, has commented on other individual cases. Why not this one?

   Inner City Press has noted, for example, that Ban took free airplane transportation from the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates, questioning it if might not create a conflict of interest as some later date. Might such a date have arrived? We ask these questions with all due respect, only in the spirit of reform and transparency. Watch this site.

On Saturday morning, July 20, the following came in:

Subject: Question
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

On your question about the case in the UAE: Violence against women is unacceptable, no matter where it happens, and no matter what form it takes. The UN hopes that all violations such as these cases are redressed and that women worldwide have access to justice.


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