Iran ousted from UN women’s rights commission amid crackdown and executions

Iran was expelled from the UN Commission on the Status of Women on Wednesday after the United States called for impeachment over Tehran’s “systematic repression” of women and violent crackdown on street protests over the death of Mahsa Amini.

Twenty-nine members of the UN Economic and Social Council voted in favor of a US resolution for the immediate termination of Iran from the committee for the remainder of the 2022-2026 term. Eight members voted against the resolution and 16 abstained.

The resolution, proposed by the US last month, expresses “serious concern” over Iran’s actions since September “to continually undermine and increasingly repress the human rights of women and girls, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, often involving the use of excessive force,” contrary to the commission’s mandate, “as well as the use of deadly force resulting in the deaths of peaceful demonstrators, including women and girls.”

Ahead of the vote, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Iran’s membership is an “ugly stain” on the committee’s credibility.

“The commission is the main UN body for advancing gender equality and empowering women,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “It cannot do its important job if it is undermined from within.”

“We can act to support women right now. We can act in direct response to our voters, the global community of women,” she said, adding that the Iranian government wanted to “squeeze” itself out of the vote, “to use misinformation and procedural tricks to obscure the truth and avoid any form of accountability. .”

Iran’s UN ambassador, Amir Saeid Iravani, accused the US of making an “illegal” request and bullying.

“It is not at all unexpected that the United States is taking such unlawful measures against Iran given its long-standing hostility towards the Iranian people, but if carried out it would be extremely dangerous to the integrity of the UN system,” Iravani said.

Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died in September, a few days after she was taken into custody by Tehran’s vice squad for allegedly failing to fully cover her hair and defying the country’s strict dress code. Her death sparked outrage across the country and more than two months of protests.

In the wake of Amini’s death, Iranian activists abroad and human rights groups called on the Biden administration to rally other countries to remove Iran from the UN commission over its response to protests, with Iranian women leading the way.

Permanent Representative of Iran Amir Saeid Iravani at the 5th Plenary Session of the Economic and Social Council on the removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran from membership of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, at a rally to remove Iran from membership of the Commission on the Status of Women on Wednesday.Yuki Iwamura/AFP – Getty Images

Iran, which ranks 143rd out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, was voted into committee by secret ballot. The vote to expel Iran from the commission came days after the country carried out a second known execution of a prisoner detained and sentenced amid nationwide protests challenging the country’s theocracy.

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