Words do not often fail; but…..

I quote, without comment, from a UN Human rights Council Review on Libya:-

Iran noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had implemented a number of international human rights instruments and had cooperated with relevant treaty bodies. It noted with appreciation the establishment of the National Human Rights Committee as an independent national human rights institution, and the provision of an enabling environment for non-governmental organizations.

Algeria noted the efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to promote human rights, which reflected the country’s commitment to complying with Human Rights Council resolutions and cooperating with the international community. Algeria welcomed the national institutional framework that had been set up, in particular the National Human Rights Committee. It noted that the country had made some progress in the area of education, as well as social and economic progress since the lifting of economic sanctions.

Qatar praised the legal framework for the protection of human rights and freedoms, including, inter alia, its criminal code and criminal procedure law, which provided legal guarantees for the implementation of those rights. Qatar expressed appreciation for the improvements made in the areas of education and health care, the rights of women, children and the elderly, and the situation of people with special needs.

Sudan noted the country’s positive experience in achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women.

The Syrian Arab Republic praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its serious commitment to and interaction with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. It commended the country for its democratic regime based on promoting the people’s authority through the holding of public conferences, which enhanced development and respect for human rights, while respecting cultural and religions traditions.

North Korea praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its achievements in the protection of human rights, especially in the field of economic and social rights, including income augmentation, social care, a free education system, increased delivery of health-care services, care for people with disabilities, and efforts to empower women. It noted the functioning of the constitutional and legislative framework and national entities.

Bahrain noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had adopted various policies aimed at improving human rights, in particular the right to education and the rights of persons with disabilities. Bahrain commended the free education system and praised programmes such as electronic examinations and teacher training. It commended the country for its efforts regarding persons with disabilities, particularly all the services and rehabilitation programmes provided.

Palestine commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the consultations held with civil society in the preparation of the national report, which demonstrated its commitment to the improved enjoyment of human rights. Palestine praised the country for the Great Green Document on Human Rights. It noted the establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting and protecting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles. It also noted the interaction of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with human rights mechanisms.

Iraq commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being a party to most international and regional human rights instruments, which took precedence over its national legislation. It welcomed the efforts to present a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation in the country based on the unity among democracy, development and human rights. It also commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its cooperation with the international community.

Saudi Arabia commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s achievements in its constitutional, legislative and institutional frameworks, which showed the importance that the country attached to human rights, and for the fact that international treaties took precedence over its national legislation. It noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had become party to many human rights conventions and had equipped itself with a number of institutions, national, governmental and non-governmental, tasked with promoting and protecting human rights.

Tunisia welcomed [Libya’s] national report, as well as the efforts of the National Committee, such as the website created to gather contributions. Tunisia noted progress made by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, such as the adoption of the Great Green Charter, which was very comprehensive and enshrined fundamental freedoms and rights as enshrined in international human rights instruments.

Venezuela acknowledged the efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to promote economic, social and cultural rights, especially those of children. It highlighted progress achieved in ensuring free and compulsory education.

Jordan welcomed the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights, including the establishment of institutions, particularly in the judiciary system. Jordan praised progress in the fields of health, education and labour, as well as the increased attention to the rights of women. Jordan noted the participation of women in public life, including decision-making, and emphasized the fact that women held one third of all judicial posts.

Cuba commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the progress made in the achievement of one of the Millennium Development Goals, namely, universal primary education. It noted that the country had also made a firm commitment to providing health care.

Oman commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its diligent efforts in the field of human rights and for making them its priority. It referred to the legal framework for the protection of human rights, and its clear commitment in that regard, which was reflected in the ratification of most human rights instruments, and its cooperation with United Nations mechanisms. The country’s report focused on both achievements and challenges, which demonstrated its sincerity in addressing human rights issues.

Egypt commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for progress in building a comprehensive national human rights framework of institutions and in drafting legislation and supporting its human resources in that area. It commended the separation of the Ministries of Justice and the Interior and the development of a new criminal code, and it praised the cooperation with international organizations in combating human trafficking and corruption, and the improvement made in the conditions related to illegal migration.

Malta fully recognized the difficulties faced by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and welcomed the action taken at the national, bilateral and regional levels to suppress the illegal activities that gave rise to migration. Malta welcomed the cooperation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with the International Organization for Migration.

Bangladesh referred to the progress made in the enjoyment of economic and social rights, including in the areas of education, health care, poverty reduction and social welfare. Bangladesh noted with appreciation the measures taken to promote transparency.

Malaysia commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being party to a significant number of international and regional human rights instruments.

Morocco welcomed the achievements in promoting social protection, especially for women, children and persons with special needs. It welcomed the efforts to protect the rights of children. It welcomed the establishment of a national committee for the protection of persons with special needs. Morocco also praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its promotion of human rights education, particularly for security personnel.

Pakistan praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for measures taken both in terms of legislation and in practice, noting with appreciation that it was a party to most of the core human rights treaties. Pakistan praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s commitment to human rights, in particular the right to health, education and food, even when the country had faced sanctions in the 1990s. Pakistan was encouraged by efforts to address the root causes of illegal migration, and noted the good practice of settling political disputes and developing infrastructure in source countries.

Mexico thanked the delegation for the presentation of the national report and the answers that it had provided. It expressed appreciation for the political will of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to address the human rights challenges facing it. Mexico hoped that the universal periodic review of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya would make a positive contribution to national efforts to overcome challenges to guaranteeing the full enjoyment of human rights.

Myanmar commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its economic and social progress, and recognized efforts in domestic legislation aimed at guaranteeing equal rights. Myanmar noted that the country had acceded to many international human rights instruments and established a national Human Rights Committee. Myanmar praised efforts to realize basic education for all and a free health-care system.

Viet Nam congratulated the delegation on the quality of the national report. It noted with satisfaction the commitment of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the protection and promotion of the human rights of its people, particularly the country’s accession to the main international human rights conventions. It welcomed achievements made in the exercise of human rights.

Thailand welcomed the national report, which presented both progress and challenges. Thailand highlighted efforts made with regard to education, persons with special needs and vulnerable groups.

Brazil noted the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s economic and social progress and acknowledged the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, the free health care and the high enrolment in primary education. Brazil noted the successful cooperation with international organizations in areas such as migrant rights, judicial reform and the fight against corruption.

Kuwait expressed appreciation for the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s initiative to improve per capita income and to ensure social justice and the fair distribution of wealth. It praised the measures taken with regard to low-income families. Kuwait called upon the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to continue its efforts to integrate people with disabilities into society while recognizing their positive role.

Well, I said I wouldn’t comment, but CUBA and BURMA(Myanmar)? Human rights! And they say satire is dead!

Another Planet; or Universe?

I have been scrolling through some of the more recent entries and comments on SaudiWoman’s blog. Now this blogsite is itself a rarity, coming as it does from a seemingly well-educated Saudi female, but it also lifts the veil, as it were, from a nation and a culture which seems so foreign to a Western-educated mind as to be living near a distant star in our galaxy.

Let me list, if I can, some of the more jarring statements which, to SaudiWoman, seem perfectly normal, if not entirely acceptable.

• A group of men belonging to the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vices, or CPVPV, numbering several thousand by the sound of it, can stop chase or harrass any Saudi woman if she is a) by herself on the street, b) in the company of a man whom the PVPV man thinks is not related to her, c) is behaving in a manner likely to inflame men near to her, and d) they don’t like the way she is blinking her eyes at them, because they are seductive, seditious and could push a man to sin.. They cannot see her face, as she is completely covered up in burlap or hessian, but these men can read a wilful expression from forty paces away.
• She is not allowed to drive, or vote, or decide who she marries.
• She is the personal property of her father, or if married; her husband.
• If she builds a Company, and wishes to discuss taxes, or commercial items, or indeed anything at all with Government departments, she must appoint a male as a director, with full discretionary and legal powers, including that of power of attorney; because women cannot talk to Government.
• She has no rights of legal representation, and in a Saudi court of law, her voice has half the power of a man’s, as she is nearly beneath contempt, being a woman.

The list goes on and on, which brings me to a very strange conclusion. Muslim women ,and Saudi women in particular, seem to accept their position in life, they almost seem to say, if to themselves if not out loud, ‘this is the way that life must be, because it is ordained by the King, because he is the Guardian of the Holy Places of Islam, and therefore he can do no wrong’!

Have these women no idea of what is just around the corner? My daughter is an Engineer, she can go where she wishes, do what she wants, sit where she pleases and drives wherever; all because she can! She has the ability to do many things, because she is FREE. Why don’t the Saudi women rise up and say ‘We want to be free! If you wish, you can jail us, beat us, or kill us; because you are going to have to do just that to stop us’!

Take a look at Ghandi. He beat the entire British Empire, because he knew he was right, and you just cannot beat a little self-knowledge!

No real change around!

As we view the “New Revolutions” coming down the road in North Africa and the Middle East, I prefer to take a slightly jaundiced view of the outcomes of any changes which occur because ‘the new, young, computer-savvy, well-educated’ are supposed to be in charge.

Take Egypt for example; I mean the ‘New’ government bears a striking resemblance to the ‘old’ one, in that nearly all the cabinet retain their posts. Oh, and who gets to lead a ‘mass demonstation in Tahrir square’? Why, its none other that the friend of Red Ken Livingstone himself, Yusuf Al-Quaradawi, calling for a ‘jihad’ against Israel! I wonder if the people who courageously stood against the tanks and bullets of Mubarak reckoned they were letting loose a greater catastrophe than the 30-years of repression under the Generals?

Swing across to Tunisia, where there were demonstrations by religious groups against protitutes whose homes have been burned down. One woman asks, ‘Why did they do that?’ Simple, Lady, they did it for Allah, and the bearded fanatics who chant his name! They also slaughtered a Polish Catholic priest, probably because they don’t like Catholics either; a bit like Northern Ireland but with more sun!

We’ll watch what happens in Bahrein, where a shifty Shia majority have been lumbered with a Sunni monarchy for too long. They’ve grown complacent, what with the fifth US Fleet tied up alongside, but heavy guns and helicopters are no match for a bunch of angry people armed only with a sense of injustice!


Add Oman to the mix, along with Morocco, stir gently, and return to the boil!!!

Un-Common Man…1 Bureaucracy…..0

I wish to report a tiny but significant victory for we common people this morning. I had a battle with the Council, and I won. I cannot go into details, because that would expose certain private details of another, but what I can state is that the Council, or rather officials of the Council took one position, and my own was diametrically opposed to them.

Their position, from the outset, was one of ‘we know best’ and ‘we have our jobs to do’, in the great echoing traditions of both Local and Central Governments the world over. They wished that I would adopt a proposal without any argument, without consultation, without demur; because they ‘knew what was best’ for me and my family.
In amongst the communications sent by myself to the Council were the phrases “ No-one tells me what to do;” as well as “the attitude of Council Officials who seem all too keen to go ‘by the book’, and spend some three months odd reading that very same book?”

The Council officials seemed taken aback to find one member of the Community they are supposed to be working for, actively opposing the very thought processes of that same Council, which brings me to a very strange query. Am I the first to object strongly, and argue lucidly against a proposal of the Council?’ Am I the only person ever to take on this organisation with a budget of millions, and a staff numbering over 21,000? It would seem so, because they literally could not understand how their position was so firmly rejected by myself.

Still, they reversed their original demand, made a sensible ‘offer’, which I of course rejected, and the world moves on. If the bland statement that I had to acquiesce with their proposal been made in the form of an offer, all that acrimony would have been avoided, but ‘they knew best’.

Well, this time; they didn’t!!!

X-posted from A Tangled Web