United Nations member states removed Iran from a key UN women’s rights group just months after it joined. The unusual change comes as Iran is rocked by an ongoing protest movement sparked by the death of a young woman in the custody of the country’s so-called “morality police.”
Twenty-nine members of the UN Economic and Social Council voted Wednesday in favor of a US-proposed resolution to “with immediate effect withdraw the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of his term 2022-2026”. finished.”
Eight member states voted against the resolution and 16 abstained.
Addressing the council on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “women and activists have asked us, the United Nations, for support.”
“They made their request to us loud and clear: get Iran out of the Commission on the Status of Women.”
“The reason why is simple. The Commission is the lead UN body for promoting gender equality and empowering women. You cannot do your important work if you are being undermined from within. Iran’s membership at the moment is an ugly stain on the Commission’s credibility,” Thomas-Greenfield added.
Iran condemned the US resolution, calling it an “illegal request” and saying it weakens the rule of law at the United Nations.
Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, Amir Saeed Irvani, said the resolution to expel Iran was based on “baseless claims and fabricated arguments using false narratives,” according to state news agency IRNA on Wednesday.
Iran had just started her four-year term on the 45-member Commission on the Status of Women, which was set up to advocate for gender equality globally, after being elected to the body in April.
In recent months, the country has been rocked by mass protests sparked by the death in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained in Tehran by a police unit that enforces strict dress codes for women, How to wear the mandatory uniform. Handkerchief.
Since then, demonstrations in Iran, often led by women, have coalesced around a series of grievances against the regime. Authorities have unleashed a deadly crackdown on protesters, with reports of forced arrests and physical abuse being used to target the country’s Kurdish minority group.
Another representative of Iran’s UN delegation responded to the vote, saying: “My delegation condemns any politicization of women’s rights and rejects all accusations made in particular by the US and certain EU members.”
He also described Iran’s “efforts to promote and protect women’s rights” spurred by the country’s “rich culture and well-established constitution.”
Iran is “a progressive society that takes into account the needs and listens to the voices of its women and girls with enthusiasm and strives for a better future for and with its women and girls,” it said.
A UN report released in March 2021 described Iranian women and girls as “second-class citizens.” The report cited widespread child marriage involving girls between the ages of 10 and 14, weak protections against domestic violence, and a lack of legal autonomy for women, among other issues.
“There is flagrant discrimination in Iranian law and practice that needs to change. In various areas of their lives, including marriage, divorce, employment and culture, Iranian women are restricted or need the permission of their husbands or paternal guardians, depriving them of their autonomy and human dignity. These constructions are completely unacceptable and must be reformed now,” report author Javaid Rehman said at the time.
After months of protests, Iran’s attorney general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, said in early December that the country’s parliament and judiciary were reviewing a law requiring women to wear hijabs in public, according to pro-reform outlet Entekhab. .
But there is no evidence of what, if any, changes might occur to the law, which came into effect after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Reacting to the news of Iran’s removal from the body, Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, said it was a “welcome step” but remained “a long way” from true accountability.
In a statement to CNN, Charbonneau added: “What is needed is urgent coordinated pressure on Iran to end its campaign of violence, credible prosecutions of the people directly responsible for these egregious human rights violations, and the end severe discrimination against women. .”