Saturday, April 16, 2011
Report: UN gender equality plan “a costly failure”
A month after the United Nations last summer announced the creation of a new, $500 million-a-year organization to promote equality for women in global affairs, the U.N.’s own investigators revealed that 15 years of “gender mainstreaming” efforts within the UN Secretariat have been a sweeping and costly failure.
The report, issued in August 2010, evaluates how gender mainstreaming -- the term that the U.N. uses to describe achieving equality between the sexes in all walks of life -- is being incorporated in all U.N. work to “ensure that the different needs and circumstances of women and men are identified and taken into account when policies and projects are developed and implemented.”
The evaluation carried out by the U.N. watchdog, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), looked at 20 of the U.N.’s most important departments and offices. It found glaring deficiencies almost everywhere. Among them:
- A fundamental lack of knowledge among U.N. staffers about the gender policy, with less than half of program managers polled saying they “always” or “mostly” believed their staff understood what gender mainstreaming is or why it should be implemented.
- An equally fundamental lack of understanding of what “gender mainstreaming” was supposed to achieve. According to the report, U.N. staffers often assess evidence of gender mainstreaming by counting the number of references to “gender,” “women,” and “girls” in documents, “rather than undertaking a considered, qualitative assessment of whether a gender perspective [meaning sensitivity to sexual equality] informs work processes.”
- “Weaknesses in leadership and accountability” in making gender equality programs work -- along with a pointed observation that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his top managers “carry the responsibility for the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the United Nations Secretariat.”
- “Lack of comprehensive and systematic evidence of results.”
In other words, there was little evidence that anyone was even trying systematically to make the programs work. In the 20 departments and programs surveyed, only 12 had policies or strategies or had distributed specific guidelines on how gender mainstreaming was supposed to operate.
Those conclusions were not for lack of U.N. efforts -- and hundreds of millions of dollars in spending -- on behalf of women’s rights, as the report documents a welter of U.N. officials, many specifically appointed to the task, running off in various directions to promote improved attitudes toward sexual equality, without necessarily indicating what they were trying to promote.
The picture painted by the document is a particular embarrassment to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has made women’s rights a personal crusade since he took office in December 2006, and who orchestrated the latest U.N. agency to boost the promotion of the issue.
Heavy-handed and unrepentant British council order a couple to apply for planning permission... for their daughter's WENDY HOUSE
Over zealous council officials took bureacracy to the extreme when they ordered a couple to apply for planning permission - for their daughter's Wendy house. The bijou Wendy house measures 6ft by 8ft and was a birthday present for three-year-old Abigail Gent, from Shropshire.
None of the neighbours raised any objection to the 7ft tall structure, but because of officials' 'crazy' red tape it still needed planning permission. It has left parents Richard and Olivia Gent scratching their heads over the bizarre move.
Wrexham County Borough Council said permission was required to ensure no 'additional development' was carried out.
Mr Gent, a company director in London, said he was 'puzzled' by the council's red tape. "I thought it was crazy and I couldn't understand the reasoning behind it. I really thought the world had gone mad,' he said.
The couple said they initially built the Wendy house in a paddock - which is part of their property - when they moved in about a year ago. It stood there unchallenged for three months but when officials visiting another property nearby spotted the offending structure they sent the Gents a letter.
It told them either to move the Wendy house from the paddock to their garden or apply for planning permission to keep it in the paddock - which they were advised would cost £169 and probably be refused as the paddock was classed as agricultural land, the couple said.
Instead, the Gents said they dismantled the Wendy house and moved it to the garden. But they still had to apply for planning permission and spend hours dealing with bureaucracy. Mr Gent added: 'We thought the paddock seemed a sensible place to put it until someone from planning wrote saying we couldn't have it there.
'Technically the council are right and are only doing their job - but I cannot understand why in these austere times for the public sector, officials are worrying about such a trifling thing as this.'
A spokeswoman for the council said: 'The reason planning permission was required was due to previous planning conditions, when approval was granted for a barn conversion and a change of use of land for grazing of recreational horses.
'Due to the restricted application site, and its relationship with adjoining properties, it was considered important to ensure that no additional development is carried out without the permission of the Local Planning Authority. 'Permission for this structure was granted on March 8, 2011.'
Britain's 1981 Brixton riots are now being hailed by the Left as a heroic uprising. The truth is rather different
Easter was around the corner and a grand Royal Wedding was being planned. The Government was struggling with public spending cuts, young jobless totals, and control of immigration. But this isn’t 2011. It was 30 years ago, as Brixton in South London burned almost to the ground in the ugliest British riots of the 20th century.
For three days, battle raged across this inner-city Lambeth borough already brutalised by Hitler’s bombs. Over one balmy April weekend, thousands of West Indian youths fought 3,000 Metropolitan police through every alley and street.
The windows of television, furniture and jewellery stores were smashed and looted, even though many belonged to the rioters’ families, who had settled in post-war Britain from the Caribbean. By the Monday morning, 60 bystanders had been hurt, some pulled from their homes for a beating by the mob. In all, 149 police were injured, and 224 people arrested. In the mayhem, the predominantly white fire and ambulance crews sent into Brixton to save lives had been attacked with bricks and bottles too. There had been no such event in English memory. The country was swept up in a wave of shock and recrimination.
Brixton was a catalyst for copycat riots by young blacks — often egged on by Left-wing agitators — in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester, Leeds and other parts of inner-city London.
The Communist Party of Great Britain stated that Brixton was an explosive reaction to the unfair treatment of ethnic minorities and the ‘particular consequences’ of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s policies. It was a view many in the Labour Party hungrily endorsed.
Today, in the minds of the liberal Left, a mythology has grown up promoting the belief that the Brixton rioters were justified in their behaviour because they were racially oppressed. To celebrate the anniversary, the BBC produced a naively one-sided account of the riots for Radio 4’s Reunion programme — in which people who have taken part in an event are brought together years later to discuss it.
The Reunion’s line-up featured five people — Brian Paddick, then a police sergeant, later a controversial Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard famed for telling police in Lambeth to ease up on drug arrests; Darcus Howe, a Left-wing black ‘thinker’; ‘Red’ Ted Knight, who led Lambeth Council at the time; Alex Wheatle, now a novelist and then a young rioter; and Peter Bleksley, then a junior policeman caught up in the riots who went on to become a ‘community’ copper in the area.
‘This selection was a parody of BBC bias,’ proclaimed the commentator and journalist Charles Moore after hearing the programme. ‘We were not reminded that Knight declared, in the aftermath of the Brixton riot: “We want to break the Metropolitan Police.” He was probably the hardest-Left of all the Labour leaders in London.’
The BBC offered no ordinary residents — black or white — of Brixton to describe the fear, crime and disorder meted out on that once-peaceful community. Nor did the programme invite anyone to pass comment on the havoc that poorly planned mass migration had wreaked on Brixton all those years ago, as well as on other traditional working-class inner-city communities.
In Lambeth this week there was even a questionable ‘celebration’ of the Brixton riot 30th anniversary. Councillors renamed the event the ‘Brixton Uprising’ and provided ‘first-hand witness accounts’ along with ‘special guests’ for entertainment. Among them was the Jamaican ‘poet’ Linton Kwesi Johnson, whose writing contains graphic descriptions of alleged police brutality during the Eighties, including one poem entitled Ingland Is A Bich.
But what really caused the Brixton riot? And what did the events of that weekend say about a Britain which had absorbed 1.9 million non-white immigrants since the Fifties?
Brixton in the early Eighties was a tinderbox. Unemployment in the area stood at 13 per cent overall, and 25 per cent among the West Indian community. Half of young black men were jobless and, understandably, discontented with their lot.
In those days, it was a place of black council tenants, many hardworking older immigrants, and white squatters living cheek by jowl.
Many of the young blacks smoked dope, listened to reggae, and spoke an almost impenetrable patois. Empty houses, still not renovated after war bombing, were taken over as drinking and gambling dens and all-night party venues. Crime was soaring, with 90 burglaries, muggings and assaults being recorded each week.
Relations between the police and Brixton’s black community had never been good. In 1966, a report published by the Commonwealth Institute, with the foul title Nigger Hunting In England?, reported that the police used dogs to chase black people, and that ‘reliable sources’ confirmed how constables left Brixton police stations with the express purpose of hounding West Indians and other ethnic groups.
Even 15 years later, on the eve of the riots, the area was awash with unconfirmed stories that detectives working there wore ‘Ace of Spades’ ties, and sported BNP badges on the inside of their jacket lapels. At the time, just 286 of 117,000 officers in the England and Wales forces were black or Asian, a far smaller proportion than in the population.
Determined to stamp out violent crime in Brixton, the police launched Operation Swamp 81 that April. They sent in hundreds of officers to stop and search 1,000 people in just two days, using outdated 19th-century vagrancy laws.
These ‘sus’ laws were hated. The 1824 Vagrancy Act had been passed to stop soldiers from begging on the streets after they returned from the Napoleonic wars. Anyone could be convicted on the sole testimony of the arresting officer for being a ‘suspected person loitering with intent to steal’.
Among the hundreds of policemen sent into Brixton as part of Operation Swamp was Steve Margiotta. On Friday, April 10, 1981, he was patrolling not far from Railton Road, a main street in Brixton which was to become the ‘Frontline’ of the riots.
A black teenager, 19-year-old Michael Bailey, ran towards him. The policeman wrestled him to the ground and found Bailey had been stabbed. As Margiotta, then 27, recalled recently: ‘I was on a busy street and I could see this person running towards me. He was coming at quite a speed. He was coming straight for me, so I had to stop him. ‘We collided, and as we got up his shirt came off the shoulder and I could see he was bleeding. I was also covered with blood.
‘He kept on running and I set off in pursuit — just to help him, as I could see he was badly hurt. Some others there thought I was trying to arrest him. They were saying: “What are you doing?” ‘It all started from there.’
Bailey ran to a flat where a white family tried to help him. The father of the house put some kitchen roll over the wound and bound it tightly. When he asked Michael who had caused the injury, he simply said: ‘Blacks.’
Bailey was put in a mini-cab for the hospital. But, fatefully, a police car saw the cab moving away at speed and stopped it. When an officer from the police car, realising Bailey was injured, tried to bind his wound more tightly, trouble ensued.
A group of 50 youths began to shout for Bailey’s release. ‘Look, they’re killing him,’ claimed one. And with that the crowd descended on the police car and pulled him out. They dispatched him to hospital and told officers: ‘Let us look after our own.’
By now, rumours were spreading through Brixton streets that it was the police who had hurt Bailey. And within an hour, the riots had begun.
It seems astonishing now that a misunderstanding, even a small act of kindness from the police themselves, should have sparked an event that would have such huge political and social consequences.
At the height of the fighting, in what many took as a racist gesture, a tailor’s white-skinned dummy had been pulled from the broken window of the men’s shop Burton’s, thrown to the ground, then stripped and set alight by the rioters.
The smouldering, naked effigy was still lying on streets covered with shattered glass and next to upturned Panda cars, when Prime Minister Thatcher was whisked from 10 Downing Street for tea at the local police station during a lull in the riots.
She asked the West Indian tea ladies who served her what they thought of the rioting. ‘They were clearly as disgusted as I was with those who were causing the trouble,’ she recalled later. ‘I had gone to the canteen to thank the staff, as I had thanked the police officers themselves, for all that they were doing.’
Australia: Pro-Asian, anti-Muslim will deemed discriminatory
A man wanted to leave his estate to people whom in his opinion would benefit most from it: Non-Muslim young Asians. There would be many people in that category but anti-discrimination laws mean that his executors cannot advertise for people of the sort he specified
A man who instructed the funds of his estate be donated only to non-Muslims may have his wishes overturned by the Queensland Supreme Court. Abraham Werner, who died in Brisbane in 1989, has had his will deemed discriminatory in several states. The estate executor, Perpetual Trust, has sought a court order to allow them to distribute the funds outside of his strict conditions.
Mr Werner's will bequeathed almost $700,000 with conditions the executor "first consider destitute male orphans of Asian parentage without any known relatives". Further conditions were that his money not go to followers or devotees of Islam, those not in "good health and mentally alert of good intellect and of good behaviour" or to anyone older than 21.
He also wished his funds not to go anyone involved in "using or marketing any form or drug of addiction" and that beneficiaries "must speak English adequately or undertake to learn to speak English within two years".
Mr Werner, who was originally from Holland, had never married nor had children. He donated his body to science.
In documents filed last month in the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Perpetual Trust says between 1991 and 2001 it managed to grant funds to charities which fell within Mr Werner's conditions. But in 2002 lawyers advised the organisation the criteria they put forward on Mr Werner's behalf could be unlawfully discriminatory in three Australian states and the ACT.
Lawyers considered the exclusion of "followers of Islam" was unlawful in Tasmania, Western Australia, the ACT and possibly unlawful in New South Wales.
Andrew Thomas, of Perpetual Trust, wrote in an affidavit the organisation "had difficulty identifying potential benefits because it could not advertise for applications given the discriminatory nature of criteria to be applied".
"Charities that assist disadvantaged children could not provide any assistance to Perpetual Trust as they either could not distinguish between individuals on criteria such as those set out in the will, or were not prepared to," Mr Thomas said.
He said the organisation ceased dispersing Mr Werner's funds in 2005. Almost $600,000 remains in the estate.
The court documents seek an order from the court to allow Perpetual Trust to distribute the remainder of Mr Werner's money to The Smith Family. Perpetual Trust say the charity would then pass on the money in a manner as near as possible to Mr Werner's wishes. Mr Thomas said Mr Werner's funds would go to a program The Smith Family operates to assist disadvantaged children.
"Negotiations with The Smith Family .. confirmed it is not able to confirm the religion [of children] and it's not its practice to collect such information," he said. "Perpetual Trust considers that it now has no other option but to make this application to the court for an order to apply the income from the trust [as close as possible."
The case has been adjourned will return to court on a date to be fixed.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.