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At UN, Only Africans and Latins Compete, Of France & UK Dominance, Jordan Walks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 12 -- Among the UN system's five regional groups, only two have any competition in the election of their members this morning to the UN Human Rights Council.

  The Asian / Pacific Group has going to have competition, before Jordan dropped out. From Eastern Europe, two candidates for two seats. The West European and Other Group, which talks a lot about democracy and against "clean slates," has a clean slate: two candidates, the UK and France, for two seats. As if the UK and France don't already over-dominate, with their veto wielding seats on the Security Council.

  The Latin American and Caribbean Group has Cuba, Uruguay and Mexico vying for two seats. The African Group, for four seats, has five candidates: Algeria, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa and South Sudan.

On Monday late afternoon, after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's speech to member states in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, South Sudan's Permanent Representative Francis Deng, himself a former UN official, was seen heading to the Delegates Lounge in late-minute campaigning.

  Also campaigning was a Togolese diplomat running for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Permanent Representative from another African country told Inner City Press, it's a competitive race, and some "Europeans try to undermine African candidates for the ICTY."

  Down in the UN lobby, Morocco had arranged to have a display in support of its candidacy. In the General Assembly last week, it defended the exclusion of the Frente Polisario from the Security Council stakeout, saying this is only for member states. (The UN told Inner City Press it is only for "participants" in Security Council meetings, a different standard.)

In essence, only two countries will be left exposed as "losers" Tuesday morning. (This is prevalent at all levels of the UN, locking in the lack of reform.) But to compete and lose is one thing -- to through weight around, as is WEOG, is something else. Watch this site.


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