January 25, 2006

United Nations Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General


Question: Can you put on the record the latest on why [Mukhtar Mai of Pakistan] was not allowed to speak here on Friday. Was it a mistake?

Spokesman: It was a very unfortunate incident. The decision to cancel the event was taken within the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Section of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Senior management was unaware of the event, and it’s a pity that we weren’t, so that we could have found a forum at an appropriate date to speak in this house. She should be able to speak in this house.

Let me add that, following a phone call this morning between the Chief of Staff and the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Munir Akram, we will now be contacting the NGO which had sponsored her visit to New York, and see how we can bring her back here to give here a platform from which to speak in this house. And form what I understand, that would be an event co-sponsored by both the UN and the Pakistani Mission.

Question: So it’s not as some have been quoted as saying, look the Member States control everything?

Spokesman: It’s clear that Ms. Mai should have a platform to speak. Her story is an important one. The Pakistani Prime Minister has expressed support for her and we will now make an effort to bring her back here.