Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Any country in which a woman finds herself sentenced to 16 months after reporting a rape is barbaric and deserves to be shunned. Instead, the WWF is burnishing the image of this oppressive regime.
The lead story on CNN.com this morning is about a Norwegian woman named Marte Deborah Dalelv. While on a work trip to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), she says she was forcibly raped by a male colleague.
She immediately reported the incident to police and, as a result, was herself charged with having sex outside of marriage. Last Tuesday, 24-year-old Dalelv was sentenced to one year in prison for having unlawful sex, an additional month for consuming alcohol, plus three more months for making a false statement. (She initially spent four days in police custody and, according to CNN, was at one point advised “to tell the police it was voluntary sexual intercourse and likely the whole issue would just go away.”)
Any country in which a woman finds herself jailed for 16 months after reporting a rape is barbaric. It deserves to be shunned by civilized people everywhere.
Which is why I’m taking this opportunity to remind everyone about a piece I wrote two months ago titled WWF Gets Into Bed with Oppressive Dictatorship. As I asked then:
what on Earth are the…holier-than-thou folks at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) doing holding an event three days from now in the UAE?
…basic human rights are a precondition to any serious discussion – or activism – regarding the state of the planet.
As I mentioned then, the UAE is a country in which ordinary people – men as well as women – aren’t permitted to vote. This is a country in which political parties are banned.
Environmental groups pretend to be oh-so-progressive. But they’re actually prepared to do business with the devil himself if they think it’ll advance their green agenda.
People who care about basic human rights should be steering clear of the UAE. Instead, the International Renewable Energy Association could think of nowhere more suitable to hold its inaugural assembly two years ago than in the UAE. Greenpeace, which likes to imagine that it speaks truth to power, whispered not one word about democratic freedoms in that context.
Anyone who cherishes human rights should not be burnishing the image of barbaric governments. But that is exactly what the WWF does on its Heroes of the UAE website.
“Rights” get discussed on that website – but not the right to have rape taken seriously by the police. Instead, the WWF tells us that every child has a right to “a sustainable UAE.” I’m sure Dalelv’s family, back in Norway, finds this comforting.
The website tells us that the government of the UAE “has gone to great lengths to understand the concept” of an ecological footprint. It tells us the website operates under “the patronage of the Ministry of Environment and Water.” According to a related brochure, the WWF is also partnering with “local government agencies.”
In other words, utterly indifferent to the fact that the good people of the UAE are deprived of basic human rights, the WWF is happy to team up with their oppressive government.
To do what? Why, to make these same people feel guilty about buying “plump and juicy” imported tomatoes.
Moral bankruptcy, your name is the WWF.