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Home Politics International Politics UN Removes Iran From Women's Rights Commission Due To Human Rights Violations

UN Removes Iran From Women’s Rights Commission Due To Human Rights Violations

The United Nations voted to oust Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women because it “continuously undermines and increasingly suppresses the human rights of women and girls,’’ according to the resolution adopted on December 14. A majority of the 54 members of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) voted on a US-drafted resolution to expel Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women for the remaining of its 2022-2026 elected term. A total of 29 countries elected to the Council voted in favor of expelling Iran. “There are few obviously right and wrong answers in diplomacy,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said ahead of the vote. “But today – today – we have an opportunity to do something that is clearly the right thing to do.”

Protests erupted in Iran in September following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police. Iran carried out its first execution related to the protests on December 8, and many more protesters currently face the death penalty in the country, according to Amnesty International. Because of these heinous human rights abuses, as well as the record of the Iranian government in the realm of human rights since 1979, having Iran as a member of the Commission tarnished the image of the UN body. “If [Iran is] allowed to continue in their role, we believe that it seriously erodes the Commission’s credibility,” Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, said before the vote.

Civil society organizations welcomed the UN body’s decision, and some would like to see more action coming out from the UN on Iran. “ The Iranian Diaspora Collective (IDC) calls on the U.N. and other world leaders to continue their solidarity with Iranian women and girls and consider all options, including a forceful, joint response, freezing of assets, cancelling visas of senior members of the government, and downgrading diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic,” Mandy Ansari, Moj Mahdara and Roya Rastegar, co-founders of the IDC, a nonpartisan organization, said in a statement. “The removal of Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women is a welcome step toward holding the Iranian leadership accountable for its long history of discrimination and cruelty towards women and girls,” Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch said. “But today’s justified action by U.N. member countries is a far cry from real accountability for those responsible for the security forces’ lethal violence against protesters after the death of Mahsa Amini.”

While a majority of countries voted in favor of the resolution, 16 countries abstained, including Mexico, Thailand and Botswana, and some others voted against the resolution. “Tragically, the UN as an organization created for multilateralism is hosted by a country that strives for exclusivity, supremacy, unilateralism, international bullying and intimidation, as part of its foreign policy agenda,” Zahra Ershadi, Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said following the vote, referring to the United States.

Russia voted against the resolution and called the vote a political move by Washington. “The ​​United States with a group of its loyal perpetrators have decided once again to pressure their political opponent trying to discredit them.” The Russian Federation delayed the proceedings of the meeting in the morning by asking for a legal opinion on “whether or not such a vote is in accordance with the procedures of the United Nations specifically the procedures.” Iran circulated a letter ahead of the vote, signed by 17 other countries and Palestine ahead of the vote. The letter called the ECOSOC vote “an unwelcome precedent that will ultimately prevent other Member States with different cultures, customs and traditions, who are also interested in serving in the subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC.”

While countries like Iran and Russia were expected to vote against the resolution, many other unexpected countries were also uneasy with how the resolution came about, according to Richard Gowan, UN expert at the International Crisis Group. “I’ve heard a lot of disquiet and a lot of discomfort from diplomatic contacts about the whole process,” he said. “But the reality was that once the U.S. had put this proposal out there, U.S. allies in particular really had no choice but to go along with it.” He added that the most recent hanging of two protesters gave the resolution additional momentum.

Mexico, a country that has recently adopted a feminist foreign policy, decided to abstain on the resolution. “We believe that it’s better to have Iran inside the CSW than not,” Alicia Buenrostro Massieu, Mexico’s deputy ambassador, said before the meeting, “we believe that [expelling Iran] wouldn’t change the situation or the reality of women on the ground.” China also criticized the vote, saying: “Removing CSW membership of a member state that has been democratically elected into CSW by ECOSOC sets a very dangerous precedent.” Nigeria also voted against the resolution.“We cannot support the blackmail, the politicization of issues at the United Nations,” Nigeria’s representative at the meeting said.

The mosr recent ECOSOC decision is not the first time UN member states vote to remove a country over human rights abuses. More recently, the General Assembly suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council following its invasion of Ukraine and reported human rights violations in the country. While it is not the first time such a decision was made in the Human Rights Council, Gowan says its is a first for the Commission on the Status of Women, leading some diplomats are concerned the two removals could lead to a domino effect. “People are drawing the dots,” Gowan said about how some countries may be concerned about these two votes setting a precedent for other expulsions, “but at the same time I don’t think the U.S. has a list of countries that it wants to kick out of other U.N. bodies. I’ve been really struck for a lot of diplomats from countries with no particular reason to worry they’re going to be targets, have been saying that they do worry that this is the sort of exclusionary multilateralism.”

Matthew Rosehttp://ourpolitics.net
Matt studies and analyzes politics at all levels. He is the creator of OurPolitics.net, a scholarly resource exploring political trends, political theory, political economy, philosophy, and more. He hopes that his articles can encourage more people to gain knowledge about politics and understand the impact that public policy decisions have on their lives. Matt is also involved in the preservation of recorded sound through IASA International Bibliography of Discographies, and is an avid record collector.


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