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January 21, 2006

The United Nations has cancelled the speaking engagement of Pakistani human rights activist Mukhtaran Mai (a.k.a. Mukhtaran Bibi). For those that don’t remember, Ms. Mai was sentenced to be gang-raped by a tribal court as punishment for misconduct by her brother. She fought her rapists in court and won, giving the compensation she received to schools in her district. Apparently, the Pakistani government blocked the appearance.

The appearance was to take place on the same day that the country’s prime minister was appearing. The UN justified the cancellation on the grounds that member states are allowed to protest events that take place at the UN–in this instance, the Pakistani government argued it would be embarrassing to them.

This is not exactly the kind of press this organization needs right now. To say that they are on the wrong side of this one would be an understatement. How they can let a country like Pakistan protest this appearance is beyond me–not sure why Pakistan is the kind of country they want to keep happy, especially on an issue such as this. They are a far cry from being a ‘vital state’ for the UN, so I am failing to see the incentive to placate them on this. Laura Rozen sums it up when she says that it is shameful and disgusting.

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Petti is Associate Director of Insights and Analytics at Alexion . Previously, he served as Lead Data Scientist in the Decision Sciences group at Maritz Motivation and a Global Data Strategist and Subject Matter Expert for Gallup.