Iran and Saudi Arabia bid for global gender policy role

Barbara Plett
BBC News
9 November 2010

Iran and Saudi Arabia may get seats on the board of a new UN super-agency to promote women’s rights, prompting outrage from human rights and women’s activists.

“We think it sends a horrible signal to women around the world who are looking with hope to the agency,” said Philippe Bolopian of Human Rights Watch. “Given the abysmal record the two countries have on women’s rights, their candidacy will be seen as a provocation by women around the world.”

The agency is known as UN Women. After four years of delays and difficult negotiations, it was approved by the General Assembly in July and is meant to begin work in January.

It brings together four existing UN bodies into a single high-powered entity. Its aim is to increase the focus on and funding for women’s issues and, through its head, Chile’s former president, Michelle Bachelet, raise their profile within the United Nations.

So the vote for the 41 member executive board, set for 10 November, is a key step.
Discrimination in law

Saudi Arabia is running uncontested for one of two slots allocated to emerging donor nations. Iran’s name has been put forward by the Asian group as part of a 10-nation slate, which is facing unexpected competition from a candidate that entered the race last week.

Activists acknowledge that other countries on the list also have poor track records on human rights, but say these two in particular systematically discriminate against women through their legal systems.

In Saudi Arabia women are forbidden to drive, and cannot take significant decisions without the permission of a male relative.

And Iran drew international condemnation recently, when it was reported that a woman had been sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of adultery and complicity in her husband’s murder…

Read the rest at BBC News.

Update: So, we can expect to read more headlines like this? Via Weasel Zippers, Quran reciter kills girl by electric shock

Update 2: Disturbing NYT Report–Afghan Women Increasingly Setting Themselves on Fire There is video at this link at The Blaze.

Update 3: From Blazing Cat Fur, “Guess they’ll buy the rope with flood aid money.”

A Christian woman has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan after being convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed.

Islam is savage.

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