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Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Just in case you were under the impression that we were doing, pretty well, this is worth a read.

3 Foreign Women Visited The U.S. To Assess Gender Equality. They Were Horrified.

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post

Laura Bassett 8 hrs ago

Eleonora Zielinska, left, Alda Facio and Frances Raday. Lt. Gov Kay Ivey/Guillermo Padres Elias/Flickr

© Lt. Gov Kay Ivey/Guillermo Padres Elias/Flickr Eleonora Zielinska, left, Alda Facio and Frances Raday. Lt. Gov Kay Ivey/Guillermo Padres Elias/Flickr

A delegation of human rights experts from Poland, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica spent 10 days this month touring the United States so they can prepare a report on the nation’s overall treatment of women. The three women, who lead a United Nations working group on discrimination against women, visited Alabama, Texas and Oregon to evaluate a wide range of U.S. policies and attitudes, as well as school, health and prison systems.The delegates were appalled by the lack of gender equality in America. They found the U.S. to be lagging far behind international human rights standards in a number of areas, including its 23 percent gender pay gap, maternity leave, affordable child care and the treatment of female migrants in detention centers.

SNIP

The women discovered during their visit that women in the United States have “missing rights” compared to the rest of the world. For instance, the U.S. is one of three countries in the world that does not guarantee women paid maternity leave. The U.N. suggests that countries guarantee at least 14 weeks of paid parental leave. Some countries go further — Iceland requires five months paid leave for each parent, and an additional two months to be shared between them.

SNIP

While the delegates were shocked by many things they saw in the U.S., perhaps the biggest surprise of their trip, they said, was learning that women in the country don’t seem to know what they’re missing.

“So many people really believe that U.S. women are way better off with respect to rights than any woman in the world,” Raday said. “They would say, ‘Prove it! What do you mean other people have paid maternity leave?'”

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This was the statement.

U.S. Position on the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands

Taken Question

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 20, 2012

QUESTION: Does the U.S. take a position on the recent posturing between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands?

ANSWER: This is a bilateral issue that needs to be worked out directly between the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom. We encourage both parties to resolve their differences through dialogue in normal diplomatic channels.

We recognize de facto United Kingdom administration of the islands but take no position regarding sovereignty.

I was impressed that both the U.K. and the Argentine appellations were used , and I thought the final sentence stated a very clear position given that both countries are allies of ours.  We do not have a dog in this fight (or should I say “show?”).

Today I came upon this commentary on Commentary:

Obama Sending Wrong Message on the Falklands.

Robert C. O’Brien, a former American representative to the UN, argues today in The Diplomat that the Obama administration has again turned its back on the United Kingdom in its dispute with Argentina over the Falklands. This is a rather easy call–British sovereignty there is lawful and the clear choice of Falklands residents. But Argentina is stirring up trouble there once again, and O’Brien suggests Obama’s behavior is indefensible and will have consequences:

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What got Seth Mandel all fired up was this lengthy diatribe by Robert C. O’Brien in  The Diplomat.

The Diplomat Blogs

Obama’s Falklands Failure

With the world’s attention focused on Bashar al-Assad’s violent suppression of the Syrian civilian uprising, and with the increasing likelihood of a strike by Israel to thwart Iran’s relentless drive to obtain nuclear weapons, perhaps the most underreported international story is the increasingly heated dispute between Britain and Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is an unfolding issue that could say much about the way the U.S. handles its alliances, including those in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Both Mandel, and O’Brien cite O’Brien as a former representative to the U.N., neither specifies which administration he represented.  I might have guessed.

Robert C. O’Brien is an American attorney who was nominated[1] by President George W. Bush on November 10, 2005 and confirmed by the US Senate as the US Alternate Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which met in New York

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Clearly I was not following our foreign policy at the time with anything like the devotion I have accorded it since a certain brilliant, hard-working charmer took over as our top diplomat.

What advantage would be gained by U.S. interference in this disagreement is no clearer today than it was in 1982.  Of course the British subjects who are residents going back 175 years want to remain under what we term de facto U.K. administration in much the same way that the Protestants in Northern Ireland want to remain part of the Commonwealth.

Naturally, the Argentines feel that their Malvinas are an occupied territory colonized by the British.  Is there some other way of explaining how these islands came to be under British rule?

All who visit these pages know that I am not one to defend President Obama easily, and I certainly see the fingerprints of his Secretary of State, whom I admire (to put it very mildly), all over our policy on the issue.

While Mandel and O’Brien rant over our unwillingness to intrude,  I happen to like our clear, concise position as stated in the January 19 press briefing.   We have no reasons to stick our nose where it does not belong.

You know me well enough by now to be certain that I will not be ending a post like this  – especially since I am defending President Obama (!) without something from the awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton  – a picture, a quote – something!  Here is a video of her remarks on the matter during her visit to the Casa Rosada on March 2, 2010 as they were published here.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the Falklands/Malvinas

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I have said it before here, the Obama administration has a miserable record of pushing treaties through the Senate.  I keep a record of Hillary Clinton flying all over the world signing treaties, but back here at home, precious few get pushed to a ratification vote in a Senate that, for now, has a Democratic majority.

When I posted Secretary Clinton’s remarks at a women’s leadership event at UNGA yesterday, little did I know that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that has not rung in on the women’s rights treaty.  But here it is, thanks to HuffPo.  Signed by Jimmy Carter 30 years ago, CEDAW has been languishing without Senate ratification all these years.

It is time for this White House get moving on treaties, and this one would be a good start.  It needs a push!

Clinton Un Cedaw

Posted: 9/20/11 07:55 PM ET

NEW YORK — On the eve of high-level meetings for the United Nations’ general assembly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended an event on Monday afternoon designed to highlight the importance of women’s participation in public life.

Together with a selection of major female world leaders, including Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, and Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile and the head of U.N. Women, Clinton put her name to a document calling for developing countries — especially in the changing Middle East — to clear the way for women to hold leadership roles.

The joint statement read:

We call upon all States to ratify and fulfill their obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and to implement fully Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and Peace and Security and other relevant UN resolutions

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I like to think that it is Hillary Clinton’s high international profile and close work with the U.N. and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that has heralded the body’s recent strong focus on living conditions of women and children.   Whether that is the case or not, women and children are in the spotlight.  A tweet from the U.N. this morning introduced me to this newly launched website.

Here is Mme. Secretary’s inaugural comment on their homepage.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State “The Obama Administration has put women and children at the heart of our development efforts, including our Global Health Initiative. This is a day that we have long waited for. I thank the Secretary-General for his leadership and congratulations on this remarkable effort.”

Check it out!

Every Woman Every Child

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Seriously, outside of a minor brushfire over the expense of a haircut,  not the look of the cut itself,  when John Edwards was still a presidential candidate, when have I ever seen such attention paid to an official’s hair? These are headers from my news feed.  I do not have the time nor the impulse to add the links.

  • Oh Hillary, that hairstyle just doesn’t cut it: Mrs Clinton prepares for huge UN meeting with lank locks  By Daily Mail Reporter Clinton-prepares-huge-UN-meeting-lank-locks
  • Hillary Clinton Wears Hair Clip To The UN: ‘Do Or Don’t? (PHOTOS, POLL) – Huffington Post
  • Hillary Clinton lets hair down as profile grows
  • Hillary Clinton unveils new hairdo – Sify
  • Hillary’s Hairdo ‘Doesn’t Cut It’ – mediabistro.com
Sunday
Yesterday

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The Lady to the left here is the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, past Presidential candidate, former U.S. Senator, and former First Lady of the United States and of the State of Arkansas.  In all of those roles she has consistently spoken out against human rights violations and worked hard in the battle to eliminate them.  Every one of her loyal admirers knows of the litany of efforts she has mounted over the years.  Last year, her first as Secretary of State,  she spoke up frequently on this issue as she has every year since she has been in the public eye and public service.  She is a tireless public servant.  She never hesitates to go the extra mile (actually, this past year, she has gone thousands of extra miles).   So it befuddles me when I see a header like this by Nile Gardiner in the UK TelegraphWhere is the Secretary of State? Hillary Clinton has gone AWOL on the Iranian front.

Reminder:  Hillary Clinton spoke out early, sternly, and often,  right from the outset,  about the disputed Iran election and about the treatment of the opposition demonstrators.  She also put her power where her mouth was when she learned that Twitter,  a primary outlet of news from the streets of Iran,  was about to be taken down for maintenance and had her staff  request that the maintenance be postponed, which it was.  (I need to insert here that the subsequent “upgrades”  of Twitter would have made the kind of information dispersion  we saw in June impossible since you can no longer tweet the same message twice.  You must reword, a task that requires precious time that demonstrators in life-threatening circumstances cannot afford.  This is off-topic, but important.)   Since June, Secretary Clinton has continued to bring up the issue of human rights abuses regularly and consistently.  In her seminal address at Georgetown University on December 14,  The Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century, she spoke specifically about human rights in Iran several times, and brought it up another time in response to a question that was not specifically about Iran.  This was a mere two weeks ago.

In mid-October she was on a two-week trip to Switzerland, England, Ireland, and Russia, she returned for all of two days, one of which was a Saturday and she worked that day speaking at the commissioning of the USS New York.   She then left on another two-week trip to Berlin, Singapore, Manila, Singapore again, Shanghai, Beijing, and finally Afghanistan. On these trips, she lives on her plane and in hotel rooms.  She actually, while in Zurich, helped salvage the Turkey-Armenia accord while working for at least an hour out of her CAR!  When she is traveling, she does not get weekends off.  Hillary Clinton soldiers on through all of this for us, her people, and for the people of the world.  In  all of this pressure and hard work, she never complains and always wears a beautiful and sincere smile.

I would like to know why Mr. Gardiner thinks that someone who has been working this hard for a solid year (because, yes,  she did return to the Senate last January and worked hard there before resigning and moving to State) does not deserve a vacation.  Why, even when she is on vacation, must she re-address an issue she spoke about formally only two weeks ago?  Literally, Mr. Gardiner, give her a break!  She is flesh and blood and heart.  She is not a machine.  She mentions her heart often, and Americans know that she has a lot of soft spots in that sweet heart of hers.  Human rights in Iran is very much an issue close to her heart.  She has no need to interrupt a very well-deserved rest to remind us of that.  That gesture, in the picture above, is a familiar one to those of us who have been watching her for years.  Perhaps, Mr. Gardiner, you have not been observing as closely as we.  Hillary and her heart are not missing-in-action, and America knows it.  I really do not even need to put a link to a story right here (but, shucks, I will anyway because I am proud of her), since , by now,  everyone knows about it.  Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Most Admired Woman of 2009.  Among the reasons are those cited above.

So, Mr. Gardiner, do not dig up this old Vampire Tale of “Where’s Hillary?”  Do not let that Vampire out of its coffin again.  Along with 2009,  it needs to be put to rest.

Just as 2009 was ending, another UK source, The Guardian, printed this  prevarication  I’ve changed my mind about the Clintons by one Niall Stanage.  I really was not originally going to comment on this since he is digging up material that dates back to 2008,  and everyone really ought to know by now that none of what he is talking about is true and never was.  I decided to address it anyway when I saw this story popping up on so many feeds.

The Clintons are not and never were racists.  If they were,  we would not see Hillary working so hard on the Haiti Donors Conference ,  or Bill ( a Special U.N. Envoy to Haiti),  via his  Clinton Foundation, working hard to aid many of Haiti’s ills from healthcare, to agriculture, to education and beyond.  Not to mention their long-standing and continued similar involvement across the continent of Africa.

Neither are they monolithic and it rankles me when they are referred to as if they were.  Many remember in the primary debates the incident when moderator Tim Russert tried to trick Hillary by reading a quote of Bill’s without attributing it until after she provided her perspective on the issue.  Her view differed from his, and she retorted, “Well he’s not standing here right now!”

Finally, the biggest whopper of them all: Niall Stranage never was a Clinton supporter or admirer.  A quick scan of his archives tell that story.

This article is very hard to swallow given that today is Haitian Independence Day.  Here is a link to Hillary’s statement.  No Hillary is not a racist, never was.  Here’s another reason why this is hard to swallow:  This  Vampire Tale and this recurrence of Clinton Derangement Syndrome emanate from the U.K.!  Messrs.  Gardiner and Stanage may arguably have some familiarity with our country.  Gardiner purportedly lives here, but neither seems to be up to date on the Clintons.  In fact, they seem to have missed out on another important  and relevant fact:  Um…guys?  Pssssst!  We  have been independent from you for 233½ years.   You seem to have missed this little document!

So lay off the Clintons.  They are ours, and we love them!

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UPDATED AGAIN: 10-12-09

The Tamil point of view which never was represented in the comments are is represented in this article:

Hillary Clinton Does Not Mince Words

UPDATED!

US responds to Sri Lanka protest over Clinton remark
2009-10-05 01:25:00

The United States, responding to protests from Sri Lanka over remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said it had no recent evidence of women being raped while in Sri Lankan government custody.

In a letter addressed to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama, the State Department noted that the US government and international human rights groups over the years had detailed “numerous cases of rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka, particularly acts committed against women held in detention by the government.”

However, the letter signed by Melanne Verveer, ambassador at large for global women’s issues at the State Department said that “in the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009 … we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict area around the world.”

“We hope that this clarification puts the issue in its proper context,” the letter said, adding that Washington remains concerned about extrajudicial killings, disappearances and detainee abuse in Sri Lanka.

“Secretary Clinton believes that Sri Lanka must focus to the future and move forward on the promotion of peace and the protection of human rights,” the letter said.

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Well, I don’t know whether that makes things all better, but where this goes on, Hillary will call it!

Ever since early February, when, just weeks into her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary joined U.K. Foreign Minister, David Miliband in calling for a halt to human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, both Miliband and Hillary have come under attack by that government as well as by the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Clinton-Miliband joint statement of February 3, 2009 is below:

Earlier today at a meeting, Secretary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband discussed their serious concern about deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities. They affirmed their insistence on a political resolution to this longstanding conflict. The time to resume political discussions is now and we will continue to work with the Tokyo Co-Chairs, the Sri Lankan government, and the UN to facilitate such a process.

Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband call on both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to agree to a temporary no-fire period. Both sides need to allow civilians and wounded to leave the conflict area and to grant access for humanitarian agencies.

We welcome today’s statement by the Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) jointly expressing their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka. We join the Co-Chairs and call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the safe zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. We also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect the international law of armed conflict.

The picture in this Madam Secretary blog post  WANTED: Clinton, for aiding terrorism, most disturbingly hammers home the level of vitriol with which the Clinton-Miliband team is viewed in Sri Lanka.

Again in early May, they spoke up together calling for an end to the conflict.

Indeed, in late May, the government forces finally did overcome the LTTE forces and a quarter century of conflict came to an end, but as in so many cases of civil conflict,  the human rights issues did not cease with the ceasefire.   Camps for the displaced and victims of the war are essentially holding areas where innocent civilians and combatant LTTE are intermingled.  As the camps filled  in late May,  UNICEF called for a quick screening by the government to identify those who are true victims and had no part in the conflict so that they might receive the humanitarian aid they required.

As we all know,  our indomitable Homegirl acted as President and Chair of the U.N. Security Council this past Wednesday putting forth the U.N. Resolution on Violence Against Women and Girls which was adopted with no objections.  The full transcript and text is at the link above. Part of what Council President Hillary Clinton (typing that felt so good!) said is below.

Statements
Council President HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State of the United States, speaking in her national capacity, said: “We are here to address an issue that has received too little attention, not only in the Council but also by all Governments around the world.” That issue went to the core of protecting the safety of citizens in all countries. It also went to the responsibility under the United Nations Charter to protect the lives of all, including women. That responsibility was particularly acute in circumstances where peace was challenged.

Noting that women and children were often the victims in wars for which they bore no responsibility, she said the resolution just adopted was a step towards protecting women in conflict zones. It built on resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008). Violence against women and girls during conflict had not diminished, in fact, in some cases it had escalated. The use of rape as a tactic of war had been used in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka and elsewhere and the perpetrators were not being punished. That impunity encouraged further attacks. In Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, which she had visited, and where thousands of cases of rape were being reported, she had met the victims. The toll on them, their family and society could not be quantified. “It shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings.” It also undermined economic progress.

There is nothing particularly anti-Sri Lanka in that statement as I read it.  It is a simple statement of the fact in the context, as Hillary always puts such acts, of the need for the government to seek out and punish the guilty – on both sides of the conflict.  It seems, however, that the government of Sri Lanka has taken exception to her remark.  On my Hillary news feed today, this article popped up: Sri Lanka Protest Clinton’s Rape Remark.

Well, it seems you just cannot please everybody.  The North Koreans made remarks about her which, if comically cryptic and contradictory, were meant to insult (she laughed).  Last week on Larry King, Hugo Chavez was equally complimentary: “Hillary Clinton is lost. America should be concerned about that.”  And now The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka continues  its  attacks on our Homegirl.

Hillary Clinton  picks her fights and issues.  Last week represented a milestone in Hillary’s career-long battle for the rights of women and girls.  That men and military regimes will not necessarily agree with her positions is a no-brainer.  But, like Joan of Arc or SuperWoman, she will continue her fight.   If these guys despise her, we love her all the more.  I don’t think the Homegirls need to worry about Hillary going on a trip to Colombo any time soon.

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