News / Middle East

Iran Loses Bid for Seat on UN Women's Agency Board

Iran Loses Bid for Seat on UN Women's Agency Board
Iran Loses Bid for Seat on UN Women's Agency Board

Iran lost its bid on Wednesday for a seat on the executive board of the new U.N. Women's Agency.  The new agency will seek to promote and protect women's rights around the world.

The vote took place in the U.N.'s 54-member Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC.

Forty-four countries from across the U.N. membership were vying for 41 seats on the U.N. Women's executive board.  Thirty-five of the seats were allocated regionally and six were reserved for major financial contributors.

The new agency, headed by former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, merges four U.N. agencies that deal with women's issues into one entity.  It will have a start-up budget of a-half-a-billion dollars.

In three of the groups -- Africa, Western Europe and others, and the financial contributors -- there were as many candidates as vacancies, so those countries were approved by acclamation.

But in the Asian category, where until recently there were only 10 candidates for 10 seats, Timor-Leste put forth its candidacy last week and turned the vote into a contest in which Iran fall short.  Iran received only 19 of the 54 votes cast; at least 28 were required.

The United States won an uncontested seat on the board because it is a major financial contributor to women's programs at the United Nations.

Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations (file photo)
Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations (file photo)

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters that the results of the election will allow the new agency to be launched with a strong foundation.  She was asked what she thought of Iran's failure to win a seat and Saudi Arabia's successful bid.

"I am not going to deny that there were several countries that are going to join the board of U.N. Women that have less than stellar records on women's rights and, indeed, human rights," she said. "But what happened today in the ECOSOC Council, when we had a vote on a handful of slates, and one of them was, of course, the contested Asian slate, where Iran had sought a seat on the board of U.N. women, they lost, and they lost handily."  

"And the slate that was selected, including the late candidacy of Timor-Leste, is one that is largely comprised of countries that are committed to women's rights and have a good record of support for women's rights and human rights and we welcome that," she added.

Human rights groups had opposed Iran's candidacy.  "We have concerns with several countries that are on the board, but what really set Iran apart is that not only do they have internally a dismal record on women's rights, but also the fact that they are aggressively trying to crack down on the women's movement inside Iran," said U.N. Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, Philippe Bolopion.

"They have been harassing, they have been sometimes arresting and going after women in Iran who speak out against the discriminations enshrined in the law," he added.

As for Saudi Arabia's seat on the executive board in the contributor's category, Bolopion said countries should not be able to buy their way onto the board.  But he said he hoped that having a seat on the U.N. Women's Agency would bring more scrutiny on the deeply conservative kingdom's restrictions on women.

The 41 countries elected to the executive board will hold terms of two or three years each, determined in a lottery after the vote.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid