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UN Women, Peace & Security Statement Stalls on Mandate Creep

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 23 -- As the Women, Peace and Security debate of the UN Security Council entered its resumed afternoon session with fully 32 more speakers to go, the draft Presidential Statement had still not been agreed to.

  The UK criticized the delay, while a number of other Security Council delegations said the draft tried to expand too far the mandate of UN's Sexual Violence in Conflict expert, Margot Wallstrom.

  These countries, which raised the same issues regarding the Children and Armed Conflict mandate of outgoing expert Radhika Coomaraswamy, say the work should focus on situation of armed conflict, which can be defined, and not extend to "areas of concern."

  Wallstrom, on the other hand, told Inner City Press that the work of her unit needs to remain "relevant" to deal with new situations. In her speech to the Security Council she raised, among others, Libya (abduction of women), Syria (sexual abuse of imprisoned men), developments in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  The third speaker, Amina Megheirbi of the NGO Working Group on WP&S, also brought up Sri Lanka. The country has been ever more in the news at the UN since it tried to get General Shavendra Silva, named in the UN Panel of Experts Report, made a member of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations.

  Inner City Press for twenty six days questioned Ban, and his head of peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, about Silva as adviser, only to be told that neither had any position, it was entirely up to member states.

  Even now when belatedly the chairperson of the SAG Louise Frechette barred Silva from the Group, twice outside the WP&S session Herve Ladsous refused to comment in any way on whether Silva should have been a UN adviser on peacekeeping.

Meanwhile inside the Council, Ladsous pontificated about accountability, even about vetting Congolese armed groups for rights violations. Why then no position on an alleged war criminal as an adviser on UN peacekeeping?

Wallstrom, to her credit, answered Inner City Press' question on Silva, click here to view.

As it hit 4 pm, still the PRST had not been agreed to. One speaker told Inner City Press he took out of his speech a line regretting the failure to agree, thinking that a deal would be made. At 4:06 pm, Italy's Permanent Representative said he hoped an agreement could be reached. Watch this site.

Footnote: Radhika Coomaraswamy told Inner City Press she will stay at the UN to the summer, then will teach at NYU. It's said the staff in her office don't yet know who will replace it, even what the process will be. Meanwhile there's talk of the creation of a new position, a sort of Special Representative on climate change investing, with one Kevin Parker's name being circulated. We'll see.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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