Outrage Sparks After UN Elects Saudi Arabia to Women's Rights Panel

Outrage Sparks After UN Elects Saudi Arabia to Women's Rights Panel

The United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women touts itself as “the principal global intergovernmental body” that’s “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women."

Yet last week Saudi Arabia joined its ranks.

Saudi Arabia, along with 12 other nations, was approved as a member of the Commission for the 2018-2022 term by the 54 nations that make up the UN Economic and Social Council. It received 47 votes in a secret ballot, fewer than any other country under consideration but enough to pass the majority threshold.

Human rights advocates are outraged. Saudi Arabia is notorious for laws that repress the rights of women, such as its ban on female drivers and its requirement that women receive permission from a male guardian for a variety of fundamental tasks. UN Watch, a nonprofit watchdog, unearthed last week’s vote, which took place alongside elections for other subsidiary bodies, and its executive director Hillel Neuer is speaking out against it.

“It’s absurd—and morally reprehensible,” Neuer wrote in a blog post that compared the election to “making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”

 

Read more: http://fortune.com/2017/04/25/un-womens-rights-saudi-arabia/

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