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April 19, 2017 – the UN Economic and Social Council issues press release announcing Saudi Arabia’s election to the Commission on the Status of Women.

April 22, 2017 – UN Watch publishes statement on its website condemning election of Saudi Arabia to Commission on the Status of Women: No Joke: UN Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission.

 

 

 

New York Times: In ‘absurd’ move, Saudi Arabia elected to U.N. women’s commission
Quoting UN Watch:

According to the U.N. website, the commission “is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” The addition of Saudi Arabia to the council was flagged by U.N. Watch, a non-governmental body that monitors the actions of the United Nations, reports The Hill.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, said that “[e]lecting Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief. It’s absurd.”

“Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death,” Neuer added, referring to the country’s controversial guardianship laws.

Newsweek: Widespread Criticism Follows Saudi Arabia Joining UN Women’s Rights Group
Quoting UN Watch: 

Saudi Arabia is set to join the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women for a four-year term, from 2018 to 2022, after a U.S.-sponsored secret ballot was held among the 54 members of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council, according to U.N. Watch, a non-governmental organization that first reported the outcome of the vote. The group’s executive director, Hillel Neuer, took to social media to blast the international body’s decision, citing Saudi Arabia’s record as one of the most gender-segregated nations on Earth and its staunch unwillingness to adapt to progressive views on women’s rights.

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Neuer wrote on his official Twitter account. “It’s absurd—and morally reprehensible.”

“This is a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights,” he added in another post.

Women’s Rights Leader criticizes vote:

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of global women’s rights organization Code Pink, says the U.N.’s credibility is harmed by Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the international body.

“The way the Saudi regime treats women is appalling and to have them on this commission for the status of women is so sad, so disheartening and so revolting,” Benjamin tells Newsweek.

She adds: “You have to wonder what does it say about the U.N.? What does it say about our values?”

Quoting UN Watch: 
“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, a human rights group that acts as a UN watchdog.
US don’t say how they voted:
The United Kingdom’s Mission to the United Nations also declined to comment on its vote and the Saudi’s election to the commission.
The United States’ Mission to the United Nations did not respond to repeated inquires but a State Department official told CNN’s Laura Koran, “As is common practice, the United States does not disclose its candidate preference in secret ballot elections either before or afterwards. The United States continues to work with the CSW and other UN organizations (such as UN Women) to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.”
The secret ballot approval of Saudi Arabia was pointed out by the human rights group UN Watch. The country was elected to a 2018-2022 term on the Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency that is “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” according to its website.“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said in a statement. “It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible.”
“Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death,” Neuer said, calling the vote a “black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights.”

“Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said in a statement released Saturday. “Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Neuer continued.

The election took place through a secret ballot during the UN’s Economic and Social Council, the Hill reported. Neuer said at least five members of the European Union voted for the Saudis to serve four years on the commission.

Quoting UN Watch:
Hillel Neuer‏, the executive editor of UN Watch (a nongovernmental watchdog that monitors the United Nations), said that the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on the women’s panel is like “making an arsonist into the town fire chief” and called it “a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights.”
“Saudi discrimination against women is gross and systematic in law and in practice,” Neuer said. “Every Saudi woman 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 bans women from driving cars. Why did the U.N. choose the world’s leading promoter of gender inequality to sit on its gender equality commission?”
Quoting UN Watch: 
Over at UN Watch, Hillel Neuer describes the oppression that Saudi women face: “Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death.”
Forty-seven countries in the U.N. Economic and Social Council voted in a secret ballot for the Saudis to join the women’s commission, which means that at least 15 liberal democratic states voted to include the Saudis, according to UN Watch’s calculation. Surely, palms were greased and deals were made behind closed doors, but the collective embarrassment extends to the U.N. as a whole, which Nikki Haley has taken to calling “corrupt” on matters of human rights.
Quoting UN Watch: 
Human rights advocates are outraged, unsurprisingly. Saudi Arabia is notorious for laws that repress the rights of women, such as its ban on female drivers and its requirement that women receive permission from a male guardian for a variety of fundamental tasks. UN Watch, a watchdog NGO, unearthed last week’s vote, which took place alongside elections for other subsidiary bodies, and its executive director Hillel Neuer is speaking out against it.
“It’s absurd—and morally reprehensible,” Neuer wrote in a blog post that compared the election to “making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”
Given the Commission’s broad mandate, Neuer told me it’s unclear what “concrete impact” Saudi Arabia’s election to the Commission will have in the near future. But the vote “definitely has the power of sending a message,” he says, to Saudi women in particular, by “putting their oppressor in a position of power and influence when it comes to women’s rights.”
The Islamic kingdom, where every woman must have a male guardian, usually the father or husband, was elected to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women for the 2018-2022 term, according to UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group.
“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.”
Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch condemned the country’s election to the commission, saying Saudi Arabia is “the world’s most misogynistic regime.”
“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group, said in a statement. “It’s absurd.”
Quoting UN Watch:
“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, a nonprofit watchdog. He said in a separate interview that the vote “definitely has the power of sending a message” to Saudi women by “putting their oppressor in a position of power and influence when it comes to women’s rights.”
The United States asked for a vote on the membership application, a diplomatic way of critiquing the country’s record, experts suggested. Though balloting is secret, reporters found that the country received 47 votes — fewer than any other country but more than enough to make it on. No country voted no (something that is apparently impossible under protocol), though seven did abstain.
But that was not enough to soothe enraged human rights activists. Lawyer Hillel Neuer, who runs UN Watch, described it as “absurd — and morally reprehensible,” comparable to “making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”
Countries deny and apologize for the U.N. vote:
Some countries, such as Britain and Sweden, have refused to deny that they voted for Saudi Arabia’s inclusion. In Sweden, home of “feminist foreign policy,” Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom would not say whether the country supported the Saudi bid. Her press secretary did tell reporters that it is normal practice to accept nominations made by different regions.
In Belgium, the foreign ministry said that it had been surprised by the vote and that the diplomat who supported the bid made a “hasty decision” without proper consideration. Leaked documents, though, suggest that the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed about the vote at least nine hours before it took place.

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