The UN's Commission on the Status of Women strikes out again
The UN continued its self destructive ways on its not so laughable journey to irrelevancy last week. Just two weeks after voting Iran to membership on the UN's Commission on the Status of Women , the Commission, "dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women" adopted
a resolution accusing Israel of holding back the advancement of Palestinian women, but it took no action on the emergency in Libya or the legally enshrined discrimination faced by women in Iran.
The only country-specific resolution passed by the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at its recent session in New York was one condemning Israel over the Palestinian issue.
An act of perfect timing, the resolution was adopted on the day Jews around the world fast to commemorate a historic Jewish queen, Esther (Hadass), who through extreme bravery and resolve, saved her people from a slaughter approved by her husband, the Persian (Iran's historic name) King Ahashrerous (probably Xerxes).
The plight of women in Arab countries is horrible: Patrick Goodenough enumerates some the Commission ignored in order to pander to the Palestinian woman bringing the phony charge enabling this Commission to ignore the real problems faced by women in Muslim countries.
Difficulties experienced by Libyan women long predated the current crisis. Human rights monitors say women's and girl's rights are routinely violated by the state in so-called "social rehabilitation" facilities, where those suspected of violating moral codes - including rape victims - can be held indefinitely.
traditional attitudes and practices continued that discriminated against women," it said. "Shari'a [Islamic law] governs inheritance, divorce, and the right to own property."
"The widely accepted concept of male guardianship limited women's freedom of movement in practice, particularly travel outside the country."
Women in Iran arguably face even greater discrimination, and Iranian women's rights advocates were appalled when Iran was handed a seat on the CSW last spring.
Iran's civil and criminal codes contain a number of provisions that women's rights advocates have called offensive.
Article 1005 of the civil code states that "the position of head of the family is the exclusive right of the husband."
Article 1108 states: "If the wife refuses to fulfill duties of a wife without legitimate excuse, she will not be entitled to the cost of maintenance." Maintenance is defined as food, clothing, a dwelling and furniture.
Article 1117 empowers a man to forbid his wife from employment "which is incompatible with the family interests or the dignity of himself or his wife."
Article 1041 states that marriage before the age of majority (15 in Iran) is prohibited, but then adds that "marriage before puberty by the permission of the guardian and on condition of taking into consideration the ward's interest is proper."
Article 1133/4 states, "A man can divorce his wife whenever he wishes to do so."
The Islamic republic's penal code also contains provisions highlighting the subordinate legal status of women. Article 75, for example, says that adultery may be proven on the testimony of two just men or four just women.
Article 300 says that "blood money" - the prescribed compensation to be paid to the heirs of a murder victim - for a woman is half the sum of that for a man.
Vetoing the resolution, the Israeli representative to the UN, Noa Furman explained that unlike their sisters in Israel, Palestinian women in areas rules by their fellow Palestinians confronted
"a multitude of alarming internal social conditions that Palestinian women face in their community."
"Living within a patriarchal society, Palestinian women are all too often the victims of restrictive gender stereotypes, domestic violence, severe oppression, and honor killings," she said.
Furman cited reports by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that refer to these factors, and to "gender-based discrimination" in Palestinian law.
The situation in Hamas-ruled Gaza was even more oppressive for women, she said.
"According to recent reports by Human Rights Watch, Hamas' morality police have taken on an expanded role in the area, harassing, jailing, and abusing women for purported violations of Islamic law. These so-called violations can be as minor as failing to carry a marriage certificate when accompanying one's husband in public."
Furman concluded, "The situation of Palestinian women is caused by all of these conditions, but it is prolonged by the lack of political will among some member states to discuss inconvenient truths - and publicly recognize what they privately acknowledge."
Ah yes, willingness to "discuss inconvenient truths" (hey there Al Gore, here are some real inconvenient truths) is so lacking at the UN and its Women's Commission for gender equality that seven members were so cowardly--Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Sweden--they abstained from voting rather than speak about inconvenient truths and only the US, in addition to Israel, vetoed it.
Some of the Commission's member countries which enthusiastically supported the resolution are
Iran is fresh from hanging a Dutch-Iranian woman as part of its "execution binge ," and fresh from nearly stoning a women to death, averted only by intense international pressure.
[S]uch non exemplars of women's rights on the Commission as Afghanistan, where in Taliban-controlled areas, most women are barred from school; China, which only allows one child per family, often forcing abortions on women pregnant with another and infant females are often aborted, abandoned or killed; Turkey, where the country's murder rate of women has increased 1400% in the last few years as the Islamists have gained power.
hat tip: Omri Ceren, Commentary Magazine