UN removes Iran from women's rights body over protest crackdown

Published December 14, 2022
A woman walks after the morality police shut down in a street in Tehran, Iran, Dec 6. — Reuters
A woman walks after the morality police shut down in a street in Tehran, Iran, Dec 6. — Reuters

The United Nations on Wednesday voted to remove Iran from a women's rights body over Tehran's brutal crackdown on women-led protests.

Following a campaign led by the United States, 29 members of the UN Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) voted to expel the Islamic republic from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term.

Eight countries voted against and 16 abstained. A simple majority was needed to adopt the motion, which had been proposed by the US.

The resolution says it strips Iran of its membership in the commission with immediate effect.

The text says the Iranian leadership “continuously undermine and increasingly suppress the human rights of women and girls, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, often with the use of excessive force.”

It adds that Iran's government does so “by administering policies flagrantly contrary to the human rights of women and girls” and the commission's mandate “as well as through the use of lethal force resulting in the deaths of peaceful protestors, including women and girls.”

The commission is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In early November, Vice President Kamala Harris said the United States would work with other nations to oust Iran from the commission.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had also campaigned for the move. Opponents, including Russia and China, noted that Iran had been elected to the body and that expelling it set “a dangerous precedent”.

Nations on the women's commission are elected by Ecosoc, whose members, in turn, are voted on by the General Assembly.

Iran has been gripped by demonstrations since the September 16 death in custody of Masha Amini, a young Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women.

Authorities have since made thousands of arrests in a crackdown on what they regard as riots.

Iran's judiciary has said it has handed down 11 death sentences in connection with the protests.

Iran had accused Washington of pressuring countries ahead of the vote.

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