The United Nations Economic and Social Council voted late last week to place Saudi Arabia on the Commission on the Status of Women for a four-year term beginning in 2018, despite that country’s appalling record on the treatment of women.
“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd.”
“Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”
According to UN Watch, the United States forced a formal vote, against China’s wishes, instead of allowing the normal practice of allowing regional groupings to select the nations on the commission by themselves, in secret.
However, the vote was still held behind closed doors, meaning it is not yet clear precisely which countries voted to honor one of the world’s foremost abusers of women’s rights. Neuer calculates, based on the voting math, that at least five European Union member states would have had to vote for Saudi Arabia for it to win a seat on the commission.
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