24 February 2011
The following article was originally published on 24 February 2011 by the 'New York Post'.
Iran and human rights: Another UN farce
By Mehrtash Rastegar and Nir Boms
While the Iranian police are using tear gas and electric prods to crack down on anti-government protesters, the UN Commission on the Status of Women is preparing to welcome the Islamic Republic as its newest member when its 56th session gets under way in New York.
Iran will sit on the commission for a four-year term – though it certainly ranks among countries least able to judge the actions of others on the "elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child" and "gender equality," two commission themes. Beyond its violence against protesters (including women), there is its adamant refusal to ratify the key international women's-rights law – the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent statement that feminism is "a cry of protest from crushed women in a capitalistic system."
Indeed, many laws and practices in Iran violate the sanctity of women, the proper treatment of girls and gender equality, purporting to rely on religious principles.
A few examples:
This is a farce. The Islamic Republic should have no seat in any forum discussing human rights or women's right -- unless it is in the chair of the accused. Commission members such as America, Germany, Belgium and Italy should enforce its real mandate -- defending the rights of women -- and not those of their oppressors.
Mehrtash Rastegar, a London-based Iranian blogger, and Nir Boms, board member of CyberDissident s.org, are founding members of the "Iran 2011 – All Rights Reserved?" coalition.
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