UN Watch is calling on U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and EU states to condemn the UN’s election of Iran to a 4-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the “principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
The vote yesterday by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, reported first by UN Watch, sparked outrage among human rights activists. “Electing the Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva-based human rights group. “It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible. This is a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights,” said Neuer.
At Least 4 EU & Western Democracies Backed Iran
Though the ballot was secret, UN Watch has determined that at least four of the 15 EU and Western Group democracies on ECOSOC—which include Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Latvia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—voted for Iran.
UN Watch called on lawmakers to demand that their governments reveal how they voted.
In 2017, after a similar secret ballot for the same UN women’s rights commission, a UN Watch campaign led to Belgium’s admission that it voted to elect Saudi Arabia, and to the revelation that the the Belgian government made sure to tell the Saudis that they voted for them.
Iranian Activists, Victims, Decry ‘Surreal’ Vote
“This is surreal,” tweeted Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad. “A regime that treats women as second class citizens, jails them for not wearing the compulsory hijab, bans them from singing, bars them from stadiums and doesn’t let them travel abroad without the permission of their husbands gets elected to the UN’s top women’s rights body.”
Kylie Moore-Gilbert, the Australian academic held hostage in Iran for 804 days, expressed astonishment at the election of her oppressor.
Iran’s Horrific Record on Women’s Rights
“Iran’s persecution of women is gross and systematic, both in law and in practice. The UN’s own secretary-general has reported on Iran’s ‘persistent discrimination against women and girls,’” said Neuer.
“Iran’s fundamentalist mullahs force women to cover their hair, with many arrested and attacked daily under the misogynistic hijab law. They require a woman to receive permission from her father to get married. The legal age for a girl to marry in Iran is 13—with even younger girls allowed to marry with paternal and judicial consent.”
“Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime imprisons courageous women’s rights activists, such as Nasrin Sotudeh, Mojgan Keshavarz, Yasaman Aryani, and Monireh Arabshahi, for the crime of peacefully demanding their human dignity.”
“Why, then, did the UN name one of the world’s worst oppressors of women as a world judge and guardian of gender equality and the empowerment of women?” asks Neuer.
No joke: UN elects Iranian regime to top women's rights body.
Electing Ayatollah Khamenei's Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief.https://t.co/ApcXikZQH7
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) April 21, 2021
“Today the UN sent a message that women’s rights can be sold out for backroom political deals, said Neuer, “and it let down millions of female victims in Iran and worldwide who look to the world body for protection.”
Iran’s fundamentalist and misogynistic regime is now one of 45 commission members that, according to the UN, will play an instrumental role in “promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
Iran won 43 votes in a secret ballot yesterday at the UN’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Usually ECOSOC rubber-stamps nominations arranged behind closed doors by regional groups, however this time the U.S. demanded a vote be held.
“I commend the Biden Administration for forcing the vote, but they should also speak out to condemn the obscene election of Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime to a women’s rights body,” said Neuer.
I know some of you don't believe me that the U.N. actually elected the Islamic Republic of Iran yesterday to its top women's rights body, so here's the video: https://t.co/43ckGoMrcR pic.twitter.com/zkuzME9R6N
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) April 21, 2021