November 12, 2013 |
Member states of the United Nations on Tuesday elected 14 new countries to serve on the Human Rights Council, drawing fire from rights advocates critical of six of the incoming delegates for their dubious national track records in respecting personal freedoms. Most criticized were the elections of China, Russia, Cuba and Saudi Arabia to the 47-member body, on which states sit for rotating three-year terms. But some groups also questioned the choices of Algeria and Vietnam. Other new members chosen to represent geographic regions were France, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa and Britain, the U.N. General Assembly office reported after the secret balloting at its New York headquarters.
November 3, 2013 |
CAIRO - Secretary of State John F. Kerry paid a brief visit to Egypt on Sunday that was meant to smooth over recent rifts, but laid bare the two countries' differences over authoritarian practices of the military-backed government that supplanted the country's first democratically elected leader. Kerry's stopover, at the start of a nine-day trip, was the highest-level American visit since the July 3 coup that toppled unpopular Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, and a bloody dispersal of his followers in the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-August that left about 1,000 dead.
October 26, 2013 |
CAIRO - Some dared to drive. Others stayed home, but promised to take to the roads another day. Calls for a nationwide “drive-in” to protest Saudi Arabia's de facto ban on women driving were softened at the eleventh hour by organizers, who said Saudi Arabian authorities threatened them with serious consequences if they drove on Saturday. Activists urged female would-be motorists to instead make it an ongoing campaign, and to get behind the wheel whenever they could. They said about 60 women altogether reported they had driven in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, with more than a dozen uploading videos of themselves doing so. Even on a smaller scale than originally envisioned, it was the year's biggest action against the restriction.
October 25, 2013 |
Give women the vote and what outrageous thing happens next? In Saudi Arabia, they start demanding the keys to the car. Thus a relative handful of brave Saudi women will slip behind the wheel Saturday for a "Day of Female Driving. " Saudi Arabia is the only nation that bars women from driving. Not that there's an actual law against them doing so. But the government won't issue them licenses. There are, however, women with licenses obtained in other countries; they will be the driving force, if you will, of the Saturday demonstration.
October 18, 2013 |
A day after the United Nations elected Saudi Arabia to a prestigious seat on the Security Council, the Saudi leadership refused to accept the position and lashed out at the world body for "double standards" and failure to protect peace. It was a stunning and unprecedented rebuke of the U.N. Security Council, diplomats and academics said, especially after the recent breakthrough in getting the unanimous approval of the 15-member council on a plan to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
October 17, 2013 |
Getting unanimous U.N. Security Council agreement to act against rogue nations and rights abusers may have become even more difficult Thursday with the election of Chad and Saudi Arabia to seats on the influential 15-member panel, human rights advocates said. Chad made the United Nation's "list of shame" again this year over allegations of conscription and deployment of child soldiers, and Saudi Arabia is a recurring target of criticism by rights champions for denying women the right to vote, drive or travel without permission of male relatives.