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UN in Nepal Slams Boycott of Election, Silent on US Disabilities Treaty

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 7, updated -- What is the UN's position on commenting on voting and democratic processes in its member states? Are large and smaller countries treated the same?

On Thursday Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about Nepal, and comments by Jamie McGoldrick, the UN's resident coordinator in Kathmandu, against a CPN-M planned general strike before November 19 elections.

  Haq said he had nothing to add to McGoldrick's comments, after Inner City Press asked if the UN believes that people have the right to boycott elections, or go on strike before them.

  Moments later, Inner City Press asked Haq if Ban or the UN have any comment on consideration of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in the US Senate. Haq said that the UN doesn't comment on things that are pending.

  But how about the elections in Nepal? Why comment there, and not in the US? Is it because there is a UN resident coordinator in Nepal? Is there one in the US?

Footnote: Meanwhile Ban Ki-moon sent congratulations to New York City's mayor elect Bill de Blasio, and invited him to visit the UN. The Free UN Coalition for Access has asked, and will continue to, what de Blasio's position is on the UN taking over the Robert Moses Playground on 42nd Street and First Avenue. Watch this site.

Update: after publication of the above, the UN sent this:

Subject: Your question at noon on Nepal
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 2:14 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding your question on the press release issued in Nepal yesterday by the Resident Coordinator, please note the following passage in bold from the press release itself:

Statement by UN Resident Coordinator on behalf of the International Community in Nepal

KATHMANDU, 6 November 2013 --- With only 13 days until the election on 19 November, we applaud the efforts of all stakeholders, including the interim government, the Election Commission, the political parties and the media, to make this process a success. Especially we commend the role of thousands of candidates who are conducting their election campaigns abiding by the Election Code of Conduct. Many politicians and their supporters are campaigning peacefully and lawfully despite unacceptable threats and disruptions.

The international community supports the men and women of Nepal in their right to express their views in peace, either as candidates or voters.

Everyone should respect the democratic right to take part in a peaceful, open and inclusive election. Bandhs or strikes, when enforced by violence or the threat of violence, are a violation of the political rights of citizens and against the laws of Nepal. Preventing peaceful campaigning by others is also unlawful. Parties who have been involved in such actions should respect the universal principle of free elections and the rights of others.

We are encouraged by the resolve, but also the restraint shown so far by the police, security forces and the Home Ministry, in providing election security with professionalism in the face of provocation during this sensitive period.

And on the disabilities treaty in the US?


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