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Russia, Pakistan, Others Block UN Access For Press Freedom Group

RFE/RL Journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who was released From custody in Azerbaijan on May 25, and her mother, Elmira Ismayilova.

Russia, Pakistan, and Azerbaijan were among a group of countries that blocked giving United Nations accreditation to the media freedom watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists.

A UN committee that accredits such non-governmental groups voted 10 to 6 on May 26 to deny the group consultative status, which it needs to attend open meetings and conferences, including the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"A small group of countries with poor press freedom records are using bureaucratic delaying tactics to sabotage and undermine any efforts that call their own abusive policies into high relief," said Joel Simon, executive director of the New York-based group.

Other nations which voted against the press group included China, South Africa, Cuba, Nicaragua, Sudan, Venezuela, and Burundi. The United States, Israel, Greece, Guinea, Mauritania, and Uruguay voted in favor.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said the United States will appeal the committee's decision to the UN's Economic and Social Council.

"We are extremely disappointed by today's vote. It is increasingly clear that the NGO committee acts more and more like an anti-NGO committee," Power said.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa