Iran wins seat in UN women’s rights body

1 May 2010

Iran quietly wins a seat in the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) without facing any objections from other member countries. On Wednesday Iran was nominated for membership of the CSW and since there were no objections to its nomination, Iran’s term will start in 2011, during which it will help set UN policy on gender equality and the advancement of women. Earlier this week, more than 200 Iranian women’s activists wrote an open letter to the UN, warning that Iran’s membership would be a “serious threat” to the goals and mission of the CSW.
Members of CSW are elected by the 54-member Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is the coordinating organ for United Nation’s socio-economic work. Of the 11 available seats at the CSW, two were set aside for states in Asia and the Asia regional group just put forward Iran and Thailand to fill them. Had any other member of ECOSOC objected to the nomination, a secret ballot would have been called for and Iran could only have gained the seat if it received a majority of at least 28 votes.
But since the US, Canada, Australia and the 10 European countries raised no objection, the meeting elected Iran “by acclamation.” Earlier Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that they will withdraw their bid for membership in United Nation’s Human Right’s Council to instead seek membership in the women’s rights body and indicated that the decision was made in agreement with the Asian group.
The UN’s tendency to fill position through “closed slates” that allow no competition has also allowed Iran to gain entry into three other UN bodies, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and the Governing Council of the Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat).

Tehran Review
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