Does it make sense that these Council Members are the UN’s guardians of women’s rights?

Does it make sense that these Council Members are the UN’s guardians of women’s rights?

UN Watch testimony before the UN Human Rights Council 26th Session,
delivered by Erica Behrens under Agenda Item 2, June 10, 2014.

UN Watch thanks the High Commissioner for her work, and we extend to her our best wishes.

The High Commissioner identified several situations of human rights abuse. Of those, we wish to focus thematically on violations of women’s rights—in particular, those perpetrated by three members of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which is charged with protecting the rights of women.

First, Sudan. Last month, Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Christian woman, was sentenced to death by hanging, after she declined to profess she is a Muslim, the religion of her father. Sudan charged her with apostasy—and also adultery, for the crime of marrying a Christian.

Mr. President, let the record show that Sudan threw this woman into prison while she was eight months pregnant; that she was forced to give birth in prison; and that she is behind bars together with her 20-month-old son.

If ever there were a prisoner of conscience, it is Ms. Ibrahim. When will this Council take action to protect her?

Second, Pakistan. Two weeks ago, a 23 year-old pregnant woman was brutally murdered for marrying a man against her family’s wishes. A mob of 28—including members of her own family—beat her to death with bricks, in front of the courthouse in Lahore. The police did nothing.

Mr. President, hundreds of women in Pakistan are killed every year in such so-called honor killings. But where is the honor in Pakistani authorities turning a blind eye to these murders?

Finally, Iran. A few weeks ago, journalist Masih Alinejad created a Facebook page where women could post pictures of themselves without their hijab. Now Iran’s state TV has launched a vicious smear campaign against her.

Mr. President, does it make sense that these countries are the UN’s guardians of women’s rights?

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch