Thursday, November 11, 2010

More theater of the absurd from the United Nations

I guess we are supposed to be happy that the United States successfully kept Iran from serving on the U.N. women's rights panel. Except that, instead of Iran, we are accepting Saudi Arabia's membership.
The United Nations on Wednesday rejected Iran's bid for a seat to the board of the new U.N. agency to promote equality for women after fierce opposition from the United States and human rights groups to Tehran's treatment of women.

But the U.N. accepted the bid of Saudi Arabia, which is also opposed by human rights groups.

Iran, which has been criticized for its record on women's rights, received only 19 votes -- short of the necessary 28 votes for approval.

In recent months, Iran sparked an international outcry by sentencing to death by stoning a woman convicted of adultery.

In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive and are barred from many facilities used by men.

The new agency was formed after a General Assembly resolution adopted in July merged four U.N. bodies dealing with women's issues into one with greater clout to represent half the world's population. The resolution calls for a 41-member executive board, with 35 members chosen by regional groups and six representing donor nations.
Jennifer Rubin reminds us how women and girls are treated by the Saudi government by linking to this report from the U.S. Department of State an human rights in that country.
During the year the following significant human rights problems were reported: no right to change the government peacefully; disappearances; torture and physical abuse; poor prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention; denial of public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system; political prisoners; restrictions on civil liberties such as freedoms of speech (including the Internet), assembly, association, movement, and severe restrictions on religious freedom; and corruption and lack of government transparency. Violence against women, violations of the rights of children, and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity were common.
Now granted - perhaps the Obama administration put less stock in their own report than in having some of the worst human rights violating nations in the world stand in line to criticize the United States, but you would think that they might draw the line at having Saudi Arabia on a panel to judge women's rights when their own report on Saudi Arabia included such incidents as this:
During the year there were numerous reports of physical abuse by the police and the CPVPV, as well as judicially sanctioned corporal punishments including harassment of women for being alone in the company of an unrelated male. On March 13, a court sentenced 75-year-old noncitizen Khamisa Mohammad Sawadi to 40 lashes, four months' imprisonment, and deportation for having unrelated men in her house.
And this:
Particularly in the more conservative Nejd region, religious police accosted, abused, arrested, and detained citizens and noncitizens, especially women, for allegedly violating dress and behavior standards.
Or this:
Shari'a as interpreted by the government extends these provisions above to all citizens; however, the testimony of one man equals that of two women; judges may discount the testimony of non-practicing Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, or persons of other religions; and female parties in court proceedings such as divorce and family law cases must deputize male relatives to speak on their behalf unless they decide to speak for themselves.
Or this:
Generally, the government did not restrict the free movement of male citizens within the country or the right of citizens to change residence or workplace, provided they held a national identification card (NIC). The law requires all male citizens 15 years of age or older to hold an NIC. For women the NIC was optional, reflecting the special status of female citizens, and could be issued only if a woman's male guardian consented in writing to its issuance, or if she already held a valid passport, also issued only with a guardian's consent. Any transaction with a government agency or public institution required presentation of the NIC. The government imposed restrictions on women's freedom of movement by prohibiting them from driving motor vehicles. The guardianship system requires a woman to have the permission of her male guardian (father, brother, husband, or son) to work or move freely in the country.
Sure, this is a country whose opinions on women's rights should be valued by the world's nations. What a joke the UN is, a very depressing, sick joke.

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