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Saudi Ban on Women Driving Dodged By CEDAW Chair Amid Run for Seats

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 11 -- Saudi Arabia bans women from driving, while running for seats on the UN Human Rights Council, and Security Council.

But when Inner City Press asked the chairperson of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Nicole Ameline of France, about Saudi Arabia and driving, she said "I cannot judge the specifics of that country." This took place last year when Inner City Press asked Ameline as well, click here.

  It would be one thing of CEDAW and its chair has an across the board policy of silence, at least on country-specific situations. But earlier in Friday's UN press conference, when a questioner said the women are being abused in Syria, Ameline cut in to say, "Absolutely."

  This is the politicization of human rights -- jumping on the bandwagon (how ever that's said in French) on Syria, but withholding comment on an ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.

  The UN Correspondents Association president and henchperson, both on and used by the anti-Syria bandwagon, for example hosting a faux UN briefing by Syria rebel Ahmad al Jarba, did not ask about Saudi Arabia, instead name-dropping the World Economic Forum in Davos and being "president" (without a contested election) of UNCA -- just as Saudi supported Ahmad al Jarba is "president" of the Syria Coalition or even, France says, of Syria.

  Last year, Inner City Press asked Ameline of there would be any help to Central African Republic to file its report. This year, asked again, it appears not: CAR has still not reported. (Ameline referred to rape in "Republic of Congo," which we take to mean "Democratic Republic of Congo," another blindspot in the Un's view).

And what ever came of the proposal to move a session of CEDAW out of New York to Nairobi, which Ameline complained about and opposed last year? Inner City Press asked this question on Friday twice, once even in French -- but still no answer.

  To be fair, Ameline seems like a nice person. And she did, pressed, go on to say in French she hoped women would get to drive (or "conduire"). But to cut in to judge one country, while dodging a question about the ban on women driving in another country, is not fair. It is the politicization of human rights. Watch this site.


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