Iran blocked from UN Women’s Board

11.10.10

The United Nations created a new body to promote the rights of women worldwide. And all the usual suspects, namely, Iran, rushed to sign up to the executive board.

This is nothing new for the UN, which has regularly seen topsy-turvy things like Libya being elected to the UN Human Rights Council. The moral authority of the UN has basically been at zero, since the one nation, one vote structure means that small states with human rights abuses get to dominate the conversation.

But this time, Iran – a country where women are executed for adultery – presuming to speak up for women’s rights was just a step too far for nations like Canada and the USA, who successfully blocked its bid for a seat on the board:

Led by the U.S., several countries helped gather opposition to Iran’s campaign. They were joined by human-rights groups, who pointed to the recent sentence of death by stoning for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman convicted of adultery.

Before anyone gets too excited, though, it should be noted that this is just one blip in the UN’s steady march to redefine human rights in a topsy-turvy, Orwellian fashion:

You might think the regime’s habit of murdering women for imaginary crimes would earn it universal condemnation – especially from places such as the United Nations. You would be wrong. In April, Iran was given a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, whose goal is “gender equality and the advancement of women.” No one explained how stoning women to death advances gender equality. This is a moral inversion so twisted that it defies satire. If you still harbour any illusion that the UN is truly interested in the rights of women, please abandon it now.

Iran’s ludicrous appointment was a consolation prize for its failure, despite fierce lobbying, to gain a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. That would not have been as bizarre as it sounds, given that its members include the rights-conscious nation of Saudi Arabia. The Human Rights Council is dominated by a bloc of Islamic and African states that refuse to condemn Iran for anything. Instead, the council spends most of its time denouncing Israel and the United States. “It’s tragic,” says Ms. Namazie, who fled Iran in 1980. “It’s like asking apartheid South Africa to sit on the commission for racial equality.”

The UN Human Rights Council has long been a joke. UN Women, the new agency, promises to be much of the same. Same shit, different day.

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