UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply disappointed by a UN decision to deny the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) special status at the world body, his spokesman Farhan Haq said on Friday.
A UN committee on Thursday voted to reject the press freedom watchdog’s request for accreditation as a non-governmental organization, by a vote of 10 to six, with three abstentions.
Ban “believes they do valuable work” and is “deeply disappointed” by the decision, which would block the CPJ’s access to UN bodies, including the Geneva, Switzerland-based Human Rights Council, Haq said.
“Journalists already are facing undue restrictions on their work in many, many parts of the world and organizations that are dedicated to protecting journalists shouldn’t face restrictions at the United Nations,” he added.
Russia, China, Sudan and South Africa were among the 10 countries that voted against the request for the group to be granted special consultative status at the world body.
The US, which voted in favor, said it would bring the group’s request in July to the full 54-member Economic and Social Council to try to override the decision.
In a reversal, South Africa on Friday said it supported the CPJ’s request and would vote in favor when it comes up for a vote in the UN’s Economic and Social Council.
“We regret the misunderstanding and the wrong message that the lack of explanation of our vote in the NGO [non-governmental organization] Committee could have portrayed,” a statement from the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation said.
Pretoria praised the CPJ for its “outstanding and sterling work” and said it supports “the role that journalists play in democracy and free societies.”
Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cuba, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Venezuela also opposed the request from the CPJ, which has taken up the plight of journalists jailed worldwide for their reporting.
Diplomats said the vote is indicative of a growing backlash against NGOs at the UN, in particular those who defend reproductive rights and are vocal on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and freedom of expression.
Earlier this month, at least 20 NGOs, most of whom are active on gay rights, were barred from taking part in a major AIDS conference to take place next month after 51 Muslim countries, Russia and African nations protested.
UN Special Rapporteur on Assembly and Association Maina Kiai said the same governments that are restricting civil society at home are now targeting the UN.
“They are doing this by hijacking, and subsequently closing, the main door used by civil society to enter the United Nations system — the Committee on NGOs,” Kiai said.
French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said the vote was “deeply disappointing and disturbing” and could only be understood as a reprisal against the CPJ.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a