Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yemen's Nobel Peace winner Tawakul Karman lobbies UN

19 October 2011

Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Karman is visiting New York to demand action from the UN to end the bloodshed in her native Yemen.

She led a small demonstration outside UN headquarters calling for Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to be tried for the deaths of protesters.

Security Council members are considering a draft resolution urging Mr Saleh to step down.

Ms Karman is a leading pro-democracy figure in Yemen.

She was one of three joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month.

During her visit to New York she will deliver a letter to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council, demanding that the UN freeze the assets of Mr Saleh.

'Reject immunity'

In a speech to protesters outside the UN, she said government repression in Yemen amounted to war crimes.

She called for Mr Saleh and his closest associates to be tried for the deaths of protesters.

"We reject and refuse any immunity for the criminals" she said. "Immunity is against what the UN was founded upon."

The draft resolution being considered by the Security Council calls for a transition of power in Yemen on the basis of a peace plan drawn up by other Gulf Arab states.

Under this proposal President Saleh would be guaranteed immunity if he stepped down.

BBC UN correspondent Barbara Plett says Ms Karman's arrival in New York has raised the prospect of some quite vocal opposition to the draft resolution.

The Nobel laureate has said she will not leave the city until her demands are met.

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