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Latest Addition to the UN Women Commission Draws Anger from Advocates

Written By: Lori Adelman
May 13, 2010

 

Recently, Iran secured a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the principal political global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to monitoring government’s progress on gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights.

Women’s health advocates have expressed outrage and opposition to this recent development, many of them citing the nation as undeserving of a seat on the CSW due to its record on human rights- and women’s rights in particular. As a member of the CSW, Iran will be in a position to add conservative language to the CSW’s agreements.

Many speculate that Iran obtained the seat as the result of a behind-the-scenes compromise in exchange for Tehran’s agreement to drop its bid to win a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council, a process that activists recently called “a denigration of the very principles for which the CSW and UN stand.” On the other hand, some advocates have defended Iran’s right to participate in the CSW, stating that its exclusion from the Commission would be unjust.

FoxNews reports that Iranian activists have also come forward to oppose the election:

“As word of Iran’s intention to join the women’s commission came out, a group of Iranian activists circulated a petition to the U.N. asking that member states oppose its election.

‘Iran’s discriminatory laws demonstrate that the Islamic Republic does not believe in gender equality,’ reads the letter, signed by 214 activists and endorsed by over a dozen human rights bodies.”

IWHC recognizes the importance of the CSW and all UN bodies in promoting and protecting women’s health and human rights, and will continue to mobilize women and young people to be involved in these conferences and interact with all government participants to ensure the best possible outcome for women and girls.

We will also continue to support local advocates who rely on these agreements as tools to lobby their own governments for an increased commitment to ensuring women and adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health services and protection of their human rights in the form of legislation, budgetary allocations, and comprehensive programs and services.

To read more about IWHC’s participation in the CSW, click here.

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