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UN Votes Iran to Women’s Rights Commission

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer condemned the vote, noting that Iran has imprisoned women’s rights activists, forces women to wear hijabs and requires them to ask their father’s permission to marry.
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April 22, 2021
Iranian women cast their vote at a polling station in downtown Tehran on June 12, 2009. (Photo by Majid/Getty Images)

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) voted on April 21 to elect Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women. According to UN Watch, Iran received 43 votes (out of the 54 nations that are a part of the commission). The vote was conducted by secret ballot, but UN Watch believes that at least four Western democracies and members of the European Union voted to elect Iran to the commission. Iran will be serving on the commission from 2022-26.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer condemned the vote, noting that Iran has imprisoned women’s rights activists, forces women to wear hijabs and requires them to ask their father’s permission to marry; additionally, the age of consent for a girl to marry is 13 in Iran.

“Today the UN sent a message that women’s rights can be sold out for backroom political deals, and it let down millions of female victims in Iran and worldwide who look to the world body for protection,” Neuer said in a statement. He also called on the Biden administration to condemn the U.N. over the matter.

Jewish groups also condemned the vote. “@UN never stops degrading and desecrating its original mandate to defend human dignity,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted. “This move enables tyrant #AyatollahKhamenei and his thuggish regime to hide behind UN fig leaf.”

 

Bryan Leib, who heads Iranians for Liberty, similarly tweeted: “The United Nations has become an utter disgrace. Women are legally half of a man in Iran & if they aren’t wearing a #Hijab, the Mullahs throw them in jail. Shame on the United Nations.”

Judea Pearl, chancellor professor of computer science at UCLA, National Academy of Sciences member and Daniel Pearl Foundation president, also tweeted, “We are eagerly waiting to hear the wisdom of leaders of the women’s rights movement, say Linda Sarsour or Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar; they surely have something to say to women under the Ayatollahs and to women who still look up to the UN for protection of universal values.”

David Siegel, president of the Friends of the European Leadership Network (ELNET), said in a statement to the Journal, “Iran’s election to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women is a mockery of global human rights. The regime routinely imprisons Iranian women for not complying with oppressive dress codes and bans women from a range of activities men are allowed to do. This is a travesty.”

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