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Morocco PR Says Only Some Countries Need Rights Mechanisms, Mic

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- When Morocco's new Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale came to answer questions after the Security Council's 15-0 vote on the resolution drafted by the "Group of Friends on Western Sahara," it was not easy to get one.

Another delegate from the Moroccan mission directed the UN Television boom microphone operator to call on a correspondent who has not written about the topic, then questions in French. Finally Inner City Press said, "Human rights monitoring mechanism? Why are you against it?"

Hilale gave a lenthy answer, on video, about steps Morocco has taken including inviting back the UN's rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez and meeting with him in Geneva, where Hilale until recently was his country's Permanent Representative.

Then Hilale said that the countries that need UN human rights monitoring mechanisms are those with no national systems, no accountability, no justice. How does this reflect on the countries which host UN Peacekeeping missions with such mechanisms? Morocco serves in missions, for example in Cote d'Ivoire, of UN Peacekeeping led by its fourth Frenchman in a row, Herve Ladsous.

Is Cote d'Ivoire as lawless as this? Even under Alassane Ouattara? We'll be pursuing this.

Inner City Press also asked Hilale, in French, if the Frente Polisario could speak at the same microphone he had used. No, he said, they are not... Then he said the decision was up to the UN.

Throughout April Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access has asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric why the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu could speak on UNTV, promoted in the UN Media Alert, but Polisario cannot. Dujarric said that is a good question, but did not answer. Now the annual Western Sahara vote is over. That's how the UN works - or doesn't. Watch this site.


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