At UN, Arab Commission for Human
Rights Out for Year in 18-0-1 Vote, Member List Demanded
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, January 28 --
Algeria's terrorism complaint against Rachid Mesli, the human rights
who spoke for the non-governmental organization Arab Commission for
Rights at the UN in Geneva last June, resulted on Wednesday in the
suspension from the UN for one year. Click here
for previous coverage by Inner
a vote of 18 in favor and one abstaining, the group will also be
required to turn over a list of all of its "members and associates"
before it can be considered for reinstatement. We hope this sets an
Algeria's representative said after the debate and vote, in the ECOSOC
Committee on NGOs. But what sort of example does it set?
Mesli has been granted refugee status in
Switzerland. He was accused of
terrorism in 1999, in a trial criticized by Amnesty International. Most
countries on the UN's Committee on NGOs said that a conviction in any
state is enough to establish guilt. While neither Algeria nor the UN's
staffer for the Committee, Hanifa Mezoui, would agree to release to the
any part of the complaint, Inner City Press
obtained a copy of Algeria's
January 14 letter and attachments, and puts them online here. Egypt
the product of "a competent court whose verdict is unquestionable."
Egypt ultimately made the proposal
list of all members and associates be provided. The U.S. said it did
such forced disclosure, but wanted more evidence of Mesli's guilt. The
that the Arab Commission for Human Rights should be sanctioned for
Rachid Mesli of the separate, unaccredited group Alkarama, to testify
The United Kingdom, which had initially expressed reservations,
ultimately voted in
favor of the punishment. After the vote, the UK's representative said
on the other hand, in the run-up to the vote said that the punishment
more harsh. India said that "the UN must respect each member state"
and the verdicts its courts reach. One wondered if Pakistan clearer
charged with involvement in the recent Mumbai bombings, if India would
such a verdict.
While the U.S. belatedly spoke of due process, it
has in the past
bounced groups from the UN over the objections of other states. A game
chicken took place on Wednesday morning, with the US Mission, now under
Obama, Hilary Clinton and Susan Rice, seeming not to want to stand
voting no, or even to call for a vote. Sensing weakness, Egypt and Cuba
out that unless a member asked for a vote, it would be adopted by
Ultimate the U.S. did call for a "recorded vote, for the record." The
US was informed that the roll call would do just as well. And then it
in favor, none against, and the lone abstention.
Debate moved on to a
Brazilian gay and lesbian group, which a number of states including
implied is involved in pedophilia. The contrasts was marked, with the
states who opposed any delay in suspending Arab Commission on Human
asking for more and more information about the gay advocacy group, and
no vote should be taken until all the questions were answered. And so
at the UN.
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
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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