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At UN, Algeria's Complaint Against NGO Draws US Request for Delay

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 19, updated --  A non-government group critical of the human rights record of several Arab country came under fire Monday before the ECOSOC committee on NGOs. It began with a speech by the chairman, Sudan's Deputy Permanent Representative, emphasizing the irresponsible behavior of some NGOs which may, he said, need to suspension or withdrawal of accreditation. On the agenda was a complaint by Algeria against an NGO. No one wanted to name the complained-of NGO on the record, but two delegates said on background that it was Alkarama.

   The US argued for delay, emphasizing the Martin Luther King holiday and the next day's inauguration of Barack Obama as President. Pakistan spoke and said, let's hear from the member states, Algeria. The United Kingdom proposed a "gentleman's agreement," to hear the complaint but not reach a decision today. The US spoke again, modifying the UK proposal to say, no decision until at earliest on Thursday.

  Sudan then gave the floor to "the observer states of Algeria," without ruling on or even discussion the UK's proposed "gentleman's agreement."  Algeria started its complaint, in French, against "use of the consultative status by certain NGOs... The NGO which is the subject of our complaint... associated with an armed terrorist group... the details are spelled out in our note verbal." Still no one had named the complained-of group. We will have more on this.

UN's Ban with Algeria's foreign minister, Alkarama not shown

   In the basement Inner City Press was approached by the Permanent Representative of a European Union member. He called General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann's behavior on Friday night, in trying to outmaneuver an EU - Egyptian compromise resolution on Gaza "shameful." He said, "That's not what he was elected for." In the end, d'Escoto had only nine members states supporting his proposal, beyond his native Nicaragua: Bolivia, Brunei, Cuba, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Syria and Venezuela.

  One wag dubbed this the "axis of as*holes," a reference to outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush's Axis of Evil formulation. The surprises on the list were Indonesia and Brunei, and Ecuador to some degree. Who knew? Question: why Syria and not Sudan?  Answer: Sudan was recorded as absent, as were Israel and the United States, who's Alejandro Wolff was unmistakably present. Also listed as absent from the Gaza vote was Algeria...

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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

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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

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