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After UN Backs Down on Rights in W. Sahara, Morocco Offers Seminar

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 -- With the UN having backed down on having in Western Sahara any human rights monitoring mechanism, Morocco's Mission to the UN on June 30 scheduled a seminar on “Regional Commissions of National Human Rights Council in Autonomous Regions.” Tweeted photo here.

Inner City Press, which covered UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous dropping the word “mechanism” from its most recent report, and the denials of outgoing French Ambassador Gerard Araud that he'd ever opposed rights monitoring -- belied by his own 2013 Q&A stakeout, here -- RSVPed for Morocco's event and appeared there before it began.

  It was at the “Convene by Sentry” facility at 730 Third Avenue on the 18th floor. There was smoked salmon and pastries, although due to Ramadan many of the Moroccan diplomats and journalist(s) there did not have any.

  Chairing the event, in French, was Marc Finaud of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, introducing presenters on Quebec, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines / Mindanao and Tanzania / Zanzibar. The idea clearly was, there is no need for human rights monitoring, Morocco's National Human Rights Commission can do it.

  From the Commission, Driss El Yazami was the first speaker, bragging about the visits of Ambassadors and Navi Pillay and saying that “even before a political solution” -- assumed to be autonomy and not independence -- the Commission has set up listening centers for women.

  Some questions: would this have been acceptable in South Sudan? In Kosovo? But the Q&A was not scheduled to take place until 12 pm, the same time at the UN's noon briefing. Watch this site.


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