News outlets are reporting that four countries are currently trying to block the passage of a resolution that would set up a new, more powerful agency within the UN dedicated to women’s issues. Not surprisingly, three of the countries–Sudan, Iran, and Egypt–have a long history of treating women as second class citizens.
Let’s review: Sudan is currently cracking down on a recent crime wave of pants wearing by wayward women. In Iran, women can be put to death for not properly covering up. In Egypt, genital mutilation is a common coming-of-age tradition for young girls. And let’s not leave out the fourth country opposing the resolution–Cuba, where it isn’t just bad for women but men and children too.
Now, this news would be upsetting if I actually thought this new UN agency might actually accomplish anything. But let’s not forget, the UN has criminals at the helm. Just this week, Libya’s former foreign minister, Ali Abdessalam Treki, took over as President of the U.N. General Assembly and as Claudia Rosett pointed last month in her summary of the UN’s leadership, other offices within the UN are held by nations with terrible records on human rights:
“…the biggest single voting bloc in the General Assembly, the 130 member G-77, is presided over this year by Sudan. Iran sits on a slew of governing boards supervising various agencies, and chairs the governing board of both the U.N.’s New York-based flagship U.N. Development Program, and the U.N.’s Copenhagen-based Office for Project Services, or UNOPS.”
The UN would better serve women if it cleaned up its act and stopped putting thugs in positions of power. The truth is, the UN doesn’t need a special “women’s” agency. It simply needs to live up to its charter which states it will work to “achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”