By Art Moore
Two nations not known as beacons of light for women worldwide, are members of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which begins its annual session this week.
The Islamic Republic of Iran was elected in 2014 to a four-year term on the commission, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia begins its term this year.
On its website, the women’s commission describes itself as “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump escorted by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)
In Saudi Arabia, women, among many restrictions under the Islamic regime, must obtain the permission of a male guardian before they can travel outside the country, work or marry.
Nevertheless, the kingdom was elected in April 2017 to the U.N. women’s panel by a secret ballot of the U.N.’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council, receiving 47 votes.
A report at the time by Human Rights Watch said Saudi Arabia “has made marginal improvements on women’s rights in recent years, primarily in employment and access to higher education, but such changes have been hindered or even nullified because authorities have allowed the male guardianship system to remain largely intact, enabling men to maintain control over female relative’s lives.”
The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch last April condemned the U.N.’s election of Saudi Arabia, calling the kingdom “the world’s most misogynistic regime.”
“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 — and morally reprehensible.”
Neuer called it “a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights.”
“Saudi discrimination against Click to see the original article