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At UN, CEDAW Critiques Ethiopia NGO Law, Korean Marriage Brokers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 30 -- When the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) session ended on July 29, Inner City Press asked a number of the rapporteurs for the countries reviewed what impact detailed filings about human rights violations would have. Video here, from Minute 16:25.

Regarding Ethiopia, Inner City Press asked about the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation and how it impinged on the work of human rights, including women's rights, groups. Pamila Patten responded that the law bars NGOs that receive more than 10% of their funding from outside of Ethiopia, and that CEDAW has asked the Meles Zenawi government to unblock the assets of some NGOs.

  Inner City Press began asking how CEDAW and the UN seek to get such action -- when for example the UN is taking and paying an Ethiopian only battalion on Abyei in Sudan, and maintains its Economic Commission on Africa in Addis Ababa.

  In some sort of response, the chair Silvia Pimental spoke about how much respect the CEDAW committee gives to NGO filings. But still: how does the UN seek to enforce these recommendations?

  Regarding South Korea, Inner City Press asked about the treatment of female migrant workers. The rapporteur Barbara Bailey from Jamaica said that issue "hadn't come up," rather nationals had been focused on, their job classifications.

 They did touch on international marriage brokers and sexual abuse. "We urged the state party to look at the Marriage Brokerage Control Act." Who knew?

Berlusconi & Ban Ki-moon: marriage brokerage and bunga room not shown

  Regarding Zambia, Inner City Press asked about the treatment of women prisoners. Rapporteur Violet Awori of Kenya said that hadn't really "come up in the constructive dialogue," but rather constitutional provisions in Article 23(4) permitting discriminatory laws including polygamy and "sexual cleansing."

  On Singapore, rapporteur Zou Xiaoqiao of China said the issues were about reservations that Singapore took: "we urged the state party to withdraw these reservations." Substantively, they spoke about foreign domestic workers, who are not allowed to marry Singaporean men.

  On Italy, rapporteur Violeta Neubauer of Slovenia spoke about "politicians" projecting sexist images -- but did not once say the name "Berlusconi."  She spoke of the plight of Roma women.

CEDAW found something to criticize in each country. But how does it prioritize and seek to enforce? We'll have more on this.

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At UN on Darfur, Dispute about “Enabling Environment," ICC Referral Removed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 -- Disputes about how much the UN Security Council should try to “pull the strings” of the Darfur Peace Process as one member put it caused three delays of Friday's vote to renew the mandate of the UNAMID peacekeeping mission: from three to five to six pm.

  Ultimately the Council voted 15-0 for a resolution which refers to needing an “enabling environment” for the Darfur Peace Process. Inner City Press is putting the resolution online, here.

  A source well-placed in the negotiations told Inner City Press that the US didn't want reference to UNAMID's "further" engagement in the DPP -- perhaps wanting no engagement at all.

  South African Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu told Inner City Press that giving the Security Council a “veto” over UNAMID's participation in the Darfur Peace Process “undermined the African Union.”

 In the chamber Sangqu said he was disappointed with the Council's “timid” approach to following the AU's embrace of the DPP. Nigeria and Gabon also took the floor to this effect.

  After the vote, UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant explained to Inner City Press that the first step will be the Secretary General's report, to see if the enabling environment has been created.

  The US, represented by its Deputy Rosemary DiCarlo spoke only in the Chamber where she said the Council will also listen to the AU in deliberating if the enabling enviroment exists.

  Specifics about this “enabling environment” are in the resolution's seventh operative paragraph, the one most objected to by African and other members. Other references were moved to the perambular, that is non-operative, paragraphs.

   India's Deputy Permanent Representative Mandeep Singh Puri, who did not speak in the chamber after the vote, told Inner City Press that UNAMID is a hybrid with the AU, and the UN should respect the AU.

  Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Sasha Pankin told Inner City Press that the Council shouldn't “pull the strings” of UNAMID, but “how” the Mission participated in the DPP was up to the Council, since UNAMID is a creature of the Council.

  A Sudanese diplomat bragged that the negotiations took out of the draft any reference to Resolution 1593, which referred Darfur to the International Criminal Court and requires ICC briefings of the Council. President Omar al Bashir and Southern Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun, among others, have been indicted after the Resolution 1593 referral to the ICC.

(The UK's Lyall Grant acknowledged reference to Resolution 1593 had come out, but pointed to a perambular paragraph about justice.)

Gambari being "interviewed" by UN: Kordofan answers and DPP enabling enviro not shown

  Meanwhile regarding Southern Kordofan, Inner City Press on July 29 asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky

Inner City Press: the SPLM-North — and you will see where I am going with this — they say that they have now surrounded the city, Kadugli in Southern Kordofan, and have blocked the airport; they say so to stop the aerial bombardment in the Nuba Mountains. And I understand that the UN doesn’t, you know, all the things that you’ve said, that they can’t patrol, but it strikes me if, if the UN — and I don’t know how many troops are still left there of the Egyptian battalion — but is the UN, can the UN confirm or say something about reports of now the surrounding of Kadugli, the airport being closed, since that would even impact on the UN’s ability to get its peacekeepers out? Is there any knowledge of what’s happening there?

Spokesperson Nesirky: My colleagues in Peacekeeping Operations are seeking to provide information, including on the number of peacekeepers who remain in Southern Kordofan. I don’t have that information to hand. We have asked for it. But the fact remains, as you have mentioned yourself, I have made it clear before that the peacekeepers who are there and have not yet been able to leave, they do not have a mandate to patrol or indeed to operate in any way. Should there be something that they are passing back to Headquarters, then obviously we would make that known. But to my knowledge that is not the case.

  In fact, outgoing DPKO chief Alain Le Roy told Inner City Press later on July 29 that he thinks the remaining peacekeepers in Southern Kordofan cannot legally report, only the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights can, and they cannot get visas.

  So the UN is in Southern Kordofan, but says not only that it cannot DO anything, it cannot even report anything. A Council diplomat whom Inner City Press asked about this on Friday called it “awkward.” That is being diplomatic.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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