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Iran vying for board of UN women

۶ آبان ۱۳۸۹

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Iran, where a woman convicted of adultery has been sentenced to death by stoning, is likely to become a member of the board of the new U.N. agency to promote equality for women, prompting outrage from the U.S. and human rights groups. Some rights groups are also upset that Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive and are barred from many facilities used by men, is also vying to join the governing body of UN Women.

The General Assembly resolution adopted in July that merged four U.N. bodies dealing with women’s issues into a single agency calls for a 41-member executive board, with 35 members chosen by regional groups and six representing donor nations. The Asian group has put forward an uncontested 10-nation slate that includes Iran, U.N. diplomats said, and Saudi Arabia has been selected for one of two slots for emerging donor nations.
The 54 nations on the U.N. Economic and Social Council are expected to elect UN Women’s board on Nov. 10, and it is possible that other Asian nations or emerging donor nations could become candidates though diplomats say it’s not likely.

Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. Mission, said Wednesday that Iran’s membership “would send the wrong signal at the start of this exciting new initiative.”

“UN Women is a vital new agency tasked with promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide,” he said. “We and many other countries are concerned by the negative implications of Iran’s potential board memberships, given its poor record on human rights and the treatment of women.”

Philippe Bolopion, U.N. advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, called Iran’s potential membership “an affront to women around the world who are placing their hopes in UN Women,” but he expressed hope that the board’s overall composition will ensure that neither country will be able to use their position to undermine the agency’s work.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head UN Women, an appointment greeted with overwhelming approval by governments and women’s groups who campaigned for four years to streamline the U.N.’s activities promoting the status of women. The framework for UN Women’s work is the platform to achieve women’s equality adopted by 189 nations at the 1995 U.N. women’s conference in Beijing. It called for governments to end discrimination against women and close the gender gap in 12 critical areas including health, education, employment, political participation and human rights.

source: AP

 
Tehran Review
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