3d Committee Ends with Doggerel on Durban III,
Budget Battle Looms
November 24, updated -- Amid doggerel about defamation of religion,
Durban III and the death penalty, the UN's Third (Human Rights)
Committee brought its work to a close on Tuesday night. After 11th
hour amendments to the Durban resolution -- calling for a September
meeting to commemorate the controversial September 2001 World
Conference Against Racism, erased from most people's history by the
attacks on the World Trade Towers -- among the Security Council's
Permanent Five members, the UK and United States voted against it,
Russia and China for it, while France abstained.
explanation seemed in order -- see update below -- the speeches after
that vote and before
the close of the session moved from South Africa on behalf of the
Group of 77 and China to India for the Asian Group praising Committee
Chair Tommo Monthe for suggesting they “fry the snake in the oil of
the snake.” Alongside Finland's praise for the Vienna Cafe there
were complaints about the frozen voting machines.
ritual, the UK delivered a doggerel poem complete with jokes about
applying the death penalty to the session. Egypt responded in verse,
slipping in lines about Durban and vilification of religion, asking
what would be next, human rights and grocery shopping?
Tommo Monthe, upcoming Durban battles not shown
awarding himself the gavel and his notes. The representative of
Syria, leaving service on the committee, joked that Foreign
Occupation would remain an issue close to her heart.
Washington, incoming House powerhouse Ileana Ros-Lehtinen issued a
press release calling on the US to “stay away from Durban III, deny
it U.S. taxpayer dollars, and oppose all measures that seek to
As the House
Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson
next year, the budgetary implications -- largely laughed off by the
Committee on Tuesday night -- will become more serious. Watch this
Update: the French
Mission to the UN's spokesman explains to Inner City Press that "On the
Durban resolution, France abstained. There were many elements in the
text that we couldn't support, but we support the Durban declaration
and want to engage in the Durban process. Hence our vote."
* * *
Darfur, UN Won't Confirm Bombings, Ignores Sudan Questions
23 -- As the UN rushed Tuesday to do a press
conference with Johnson & Johnson, it allowed only a single
question, about Darfur. Inner City Press asked if the UN and the
UNAMID mission have the capacity or the will to confirm or deny
reports of Sudanese government “air raids on large areas in North
Darfur on Kariyari, Boba, Furawiya, Wadi Howar and up to Alkhaim.”
those reports, replied acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq. He
said Gambari has actually been visiting North Darfur, and we have
some information available on that.” But where? Of late Inner City
Press has asked for UN confirmation or denial of various government
attacks and killing in Darfur, and the UN has brushed off the
questions during its briefing, and not responded afterwards.
November 22 address at Seton Hall in New Jersey, called his
re-election speech, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon claimed that “in
Darfur.... for years, conflict raged... today, the mission continues
to protect civilians.” Continues?
UN's Ban & Gambari, claims of civilian protection not shown
23 UN transcript:
I wanted to know if the UN can confirm that JEM [Justice
and Equality Movement] rebels in Darfur are saying that there has
been a week of bombing campaigns by the Government in North Darfur,
and I am just… There have been a number of questions that have
built up for UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in
Darfur] to either confirm or deny, and Mr. Ban’s speech said that
somehow Darfur is now so peaceful. Is UNAMID actually tracking…
does it have any capacity or will to report on bombing by the
Government in Darfur?
Haq: UNAMID has not confirmed this attack. Mr.
[Ibrahim] Gambari has actually been visiting North Darfur, and we
have some information available on that, but there is no confirmation
of these particular reported attacks. And with that, I have to clear
the room for our next guest.
Also still unanswered, despite being submitted in writing to Haq and
the Spokesman Martin Nesirky:
question why JMAC data is not on UNAMID's web site,
some say it is routinely and selectively
respond, and whether these
figures include Tarabat market.
deny that staff of Mr. Deng's Prevention of
Genocide office are asked to work on his books, quantify what amount
of time and whether this complies with UN rules, and if the books
should be attributed to the UN.
This last question
has actually been asked three times without answer, as have questions
about the Secretary General's links with Sri Lanka and its
leadership, which Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky has said may never be