The Islamic Republic of Iran, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world and top state sponsor of international terrorism, has been appointed a seat on the United Nations’ Women’s Rights Committee, Hillel Neuer of the watchdog group UN Watch reported Wednesday. Neuer described the appointment as sending “the worst possible message” to the women of Iran.
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) March 13, 2019
A press release by the U.N., shared by Neuer on his Twitter account, said that Iran and Nigeria would serve on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is dedicated to promoting “gender equality and the advancement of women.”
On its website, CSW describes itself as “instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
“The United Nations was founded on moral clarity but sadly, all too often today we see moral relativism of the kind that allows the misogynistic regime of Iran to examine complaints alleging violations of women’s rights,” Neuer said Wednesday.
“Empowering Iran to hold any kind of symbolic position as a global guardian of women’s rights sends the worst possible message as to how the United Nations feels about the rights of oppressed women in Iran,” he added.
On the day the U.N. made the announcement, Iran sentenced Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, to an extra 10 years in jail on top of the five-year term she is already serving for defending protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab laws.
Nasrin Sotoudeh was my attorney after I got beaten & arrested b/c of protesting against #ShariaLaw & mandatory hijab.
In prison my interrogators were beating me & shouting that even in the West they honor Sharia Law!
— Maryam shariatmadari (@Maryamshariatm) March 13, 2019
In a press release Thursday, a group of U.N. experts — including Ivana RadačIć, the chair of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice – sharply condemned the verdict.
“We are deeply concerned about Ms. Sotoudeh’s conviction and the prison sentence imposed. Her detention and the charges against her appear to relate to her work as a human rights lawyer, especially representing Iranian women human rights defenders arrested for peacefully protesting against laws making the wearing of veils compulsory for women,” the experts said.
In an explosive report released earlier this month, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Iran, Javaid Rehman, blasted the Islamic Republic for “the trend of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, being arrested and imprisoned in connection with their activities, and the increasing numbers of arrests of lawyers and labour activists.”
Iran has for years ranked near the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap report. In the 2018 statistic, Iran ranked 142 out of 149 countries evaluated.
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