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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid