UN facing scrutiny over letting Iran join women’s rights panel

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The United Nations is facing growing scrutiny in the wake of Iran’s election to a top committee on women’s rights within the organization.

“We consider the election of the extremely misogynistic regime of Iran as an insult to all Iranian women, the main victims of this regime during the last four decades,” the Association of Iranian Women in France said in a statement released with their counterparts in Italy and Sweden.

“We call on governments, institutions and associations to condemn this decision,” the statement continued.

“A regime that does not allow women to make decisions for their own bodies has been elected to a body to monitor the condition of women around the world,” Masih Alinejad, a US-based women’s activist, said in testimony before the Swedish parliament.

Alinejad initially called the news “surreal” in a tweet last week.

“A regime that treats women as 2nd [sic] class citizens, jails them for not wearing compulsory hijab, bans them from singing, bars them from stadiums & doesn’t let them travel abroad without the permission of their husbands gets elected to UN’s top women’s rights body,” she continued, noting the nation’s stringent rules on women.

Last Tuesday, the UN’s Economic and Social Council elected Iran — along with China, Japan, Lebanon and Pakistan — to the Commission on the Status of Women, the principal team handling “the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

China and Japan were already commission members, and last week’s vote marked their reelections.

After the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian women were stripped of rights.

Women are not permitted by the government to have certain jobs, and must remain covered in public as a result of mandatory headscarf laws.

Daughters are under the supervision of their fathers, and wives are to follow the orders of their husbands. This means not going outdoors without spousal permission.

A 2020 report from Amnesty International found that in Iran, “Women continued to face entrenched discrimination in law, including in relation to marriage, divorce, employment, inheritance and political office.”

“The authorities failed to criminalize domestic violence, marital rape, early and forced marriage and other gender-based violence against women and girls, which remained widespread. The legal age of marriage for girls stayed at 13, and fathers and grandfathers could obtain permission from courts for their daughters to be married at a younger age,” the report found.

Just last month, Javaid Rehman, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, slammed the nation’s treatment of women.

“[E]gregious gender-based discrimination persists in law, practice and societal attitudes, disempowering women and girls from participating and contributing in society,” Rehman said in his annual address to the Human Rights Council, noting “some positive steps” for Iranian females in education and other rights.

With Post wires

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