25 February 2011

NZ friends of the Gaddafi regime - Part 1 - Helen Clark

In her role as UNDP Secretary General, Helen Clark has to be diplomatic with all sorts of regimes as she flies around the globe in first class staying in five-star hotels showing concern for global poverty by not experiencing anything remotely close to it.

However, does she have to provide succuour, support and titles to relatives of dictators?  Apparently so.

Muammar Gaddafi's daughter was, until yesterday, a Goodwill Ambassador to the UNDP.   She has been removed, and rightly so.  However, why was she appointed in the first place?  Why is UNDP having a positive relationship with the Gaddafi dictatorship at all.

However, UNDP's relationship with Libya goes back to 1972.  Gaddafi was well established in power even then.  UNDP even now has a dedicated website showcasing how taxpayer money from across the world has been funnelled into projects in this oil rich dictatorship.  To be fair Libya also throws in some money to the projects, not that this makes it better.

The direct Aisha Gaddafi relationship also started before Clark in 2006, with this document formalising a relationship between Gaddafi's charity (Watassemo Charity Society) and UNDP.  Now anyone with an eye for how dictatorships work knows there could never be any transparency behind charities run in such regimes, which would make any such relationship questionable even without it being run by the daughter of a mass murdering tyrant.

It even has multi-year plans AGREED with the regime to help develop the country.

Now Helen Clark is only the latest in a long line of UN bureaurats to suck from the UN tit and be a party to this, but a party she certainly is.

You see whilst UNDP has been in Libya for almost 40 years, the Gaddafi relationship has been solid throughout.  The most recent move was only in 2009 to appoint Aisha Gaddafi as the goodwill ambassador of Libya on July 24, 2009 to address the issues of HIV/AIDS and violence against women in Libya, according to the Times of India.   So Helen Clark must have endorsed the appointment of the dictator's daughter to such a role.

Furthermore, the UNDP has also provided a facade for the nonsense of quality governance in Libya.  Its three year report states:
"Democratic governance. A new initiative on the automation of national courts, with a view to increasing public access to justice, was started in 2008 with completion expected by 2010."

Excuse me?  "Increasing public access to justice" in a Police state, where secret police forces routinely arrest people without trial.  The Human Rights Watch report says:

Hundreds of prisoners are detained by the Internal Security Agency without any legal basis. Over the past few years, an unprecedented confrontation between the General People’s Committee for Justice and the General People’s Committee for Public Security has developed over the failure of Internal Security to implement the decisions of Libyan courts.  The Internal Security Agency continues to refuse to release from Abu Salim and Ain Zara prisons, prisoners who either have been acquitted by courts or who have already served their court- imposed sentences.

Yet Helen Clark's UNDP talks of "democratic governance" and "access to justice" without ever mentioning any of this.  

Or this:

"The practice of enforced disappearance by Internal Security continues in Libya. Over the past decades, Internal Security agents have regularly detained individuals incommunicado in prisons or in Internal Security offices.  Libyan groups estimate that Libyan security officials have disappeared thousands of individuals over the past three decades"

Libya has no independent nongovernmental organizations. The only organizations that can do human rights work, the most sensitive area of all in Libya, derive their political standing from their personal affiliation with the regime.  The main organization that can publicly criticize human rights violations is the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (Gaddafi Foundation), chaired by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi.  A second organization, Waatasemu, is run by Dr. Aisha al-Gaddafi, Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s daughter, and has intervened in death penalty cases and women’s rights issues.

In other words, unless you can plead to the Gaddafi family, you have little chance at justice.

What does the UNDP focus on?

The overarching goal sounds innocuous, if Libya was not an authoritarian police state:
"National institutions strengthened towards improved public service delivery and strengthened national data management systems"

Nothing like having a police state better manage its data!

Then within justice, the goals are more asinine.  It is nothing about real justice, more about making a police state operate more effectively!

"Within the justice sector, UNDP will support the ongoing automation process of courts, conducting capacity assessments, and implementing specific capacity development activities. A specific focus will be on ensuring greater access to justice for women."

So Helen Clark's UNDP is focusing on ensuring greater access for women, which appears to mean automating the courts and developing the capacity of the justice sector - in a police state.  The programme includes in its goals "Civil society organizations actively engage in development efforts, notably related to gender issues, and provision of services" yet Human Rights Watch notes:

There is no freedom of association in Libya because the concept of an independent civil society goes directly against Gaddafi’s theory of governance by the masses. Law 71 still criminalizes political parties, and the penal code criminalizes the establishment of organizations that are “against the principles of the Libyan Jamahireya system.” Law 19, "On Associations," requires a political body to approve all nongovernmental organizations, does not allow appeals against negative decisions and provides for continuous governmental interference in the running of the organization.

It is a farce, but worse of all it is actively complicit in pretending that it NOT a farce.  In creating civil society organisations, that are actually tools of the regime to present an image of civil society.  It is no surprise that two bodies, run by Gaddafi's offspring, are the only ones that can discuss human rights.  It is beyond absurd, and any credible Secretary General of the UNDP would not tolerate this.  

I would be surprised if Clark knew the details, but therein lies the UN problem.  A behemoth under which the UN does not simply remain quiet about evil, but actively works with it and becomes part of its propaganda to sustain itself.  

Yet, this Libyan UNDP office has an explicit goal of "democratic governance" in a country that has absolutely none of it, led by a philosophy that is actively opposed to it.  

The UNDP Libya website says the following, which is about as cynical as one can be.   Talking of democracy, then about Libya "strengthening institutions" in a police state.  That would actively do the opposite:

"The critical importance of democratic governance in the developing world was highlighted at the Millennium Summit of 2000, where the world's leaders resolved to "spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development. A consensus was reached which recognized that improving the quality of democratic institutions and processes, and managing the changing roles of the state and civil society in an increasingly globalised world must underpin national efforts to reduce poverty, sustain the environment, and promote human development.
In Libya, UNDP is working with the national government to enhance the capacities of state institutions and staff, particularly in regards to the access to justice.   It is also working towards providing General People’s Committees with policy advice and technical support in different fields, utilising its network of over 166 offices, and its global partnerships with democratic governance institutions."

It would be hilarious, if the UNDP wasn't using your taxes, and is led by a former New Zealand Prime Minister to basically grant a degree of respectability and a facade of progress upon a dictatorship and his family.  Strengthening the Libyan dictatorship does not enhance democratic governance, it undermines it.

Effectively, Helen Clark is just leading a body that does little about Libya, which in that position one may forgive, but rather leads a body colluding with the Gaddafi regime.  Furthermore, I would be surprised if Clark did not endorse making Aisha Gaddafi a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP.   A position she earned because daddy has been running Libya as his personal fiefdom for forty years.  Should Bashar Assad have got one for being son of his dictator dad, or Kim Jong Il (and now Kim Jong Eun)?  

So Helen Clark is the first New Zealander I claim as a friend of the Gaddafi regime, through her actions as leader of the UNDP.  The removal of Aisha Gaddafi's status is a bit after the fact, and a bit "oh we better do that given the population are being slaughtered".
Although maybe Helen Clark simply has the UN disease, the same disease that allows Libya to sit on the UN Human Rights Council, with China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

UPDATE:  Credit to Fairfacts Media for picking this up before I did, making the same point.  I wait to read the condemnation of Clark's actions from the leftwing blogosphere, as much as Tony Blair will be criticised rightly for his appeasement.



I commented on this yesterday.
Great to see you notice it too.
What a shame the NZ media never says anything critical of UNcle and her activities at the UNDP.

Anonymous said...

I once heard from a very informed source
In her radical days. Clark attended a Marxist training camp in Central America.
Is this support for Gaddafi part of her Marxist agenda.

Libertyscott said...

She picked coffee beans for the Sandinistas.

No, I don't think she has an agenda. I think it is just intellectual and moral laziness of the UN which she reflects. She actually isn't interested. She isn't picking out Libya, she just participates and leads a system that appeases dictatorships, and she lives the high life doing it.