India has abstained in the U.N. Economic and Social Council on a draft resolution to oust Iran from the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.
The Economic and Social Council adopted on December 14 the draft resolution, introduced by the U.S., on the removal of Iran from the membership of the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term, citing its oppression of women and girls in the Islamic Republic.
The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 29 in favour to eight against - Bolivia, China, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Zimbabwe and 16 abstentions, including by Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Mexico, and Thailand.
Also read: Protest-hit Iran abolishes ‘morality police’
Through the draft 'Removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran from membership in the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term’, the Economic and Social Council expressed serious concern over the actions of the Government of Iran since September 2022.
It said Iran continuously undermined and increasingly suppressed the "human rights of women and girls, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, often with the use of excessive force, by administering policies flagrantly contrary to the human rights of women and girls and to the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as through the use of lethal force resulting in the deaths of peaceful protestors, including women and girls."
The resolution decided to remove Iran “with immediate effect” from membership in the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022–2026 term.
Iran has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by the country's morality police.
At least 475 people have been killed in the demonstrations amid a heavy-handed security crackdown, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that's been monitoring the protests since they began. Over 18,000 have been detained by authorities.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the vote by the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to remove Iran from the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women sends an “unmistakable message” of support from around the world to the brave people of Iran, and in particular to Iranian women and girls, who remain undaunted despite the brutality and violence perpetrated against them by the Iranian regime.
“The protests across Iran, triggered by the tragic death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the so-called “morality police,” reveal an Iranian population craving the universal human rights to which every person worldwide is entitled,” he said.
After the draft was adopted, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters that following Amini’s death, tens of thousands of Iranians said enough is enough. “The people have taken to the streets and made their voices heard. They are standing for women, for life, and for freedom,” she said.
“The United States has long stood for gender equality and basic human rights. We had to act. Iranian women have clearly called for us, here at the United Nations, to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women. It was a sensible request. Iran’s membership directly undermines the commission’s work. Its membership was a stain on our credibility,” she said.
“Today, we removed that stain.”
Iran blames U.S. after being removed from U.N. rights body
Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the U.N. Amir Saeid Iravani said the draft resolution was yet another evidence of the United States' hostile policy toward Iranian people, particularly Iranian women, which is being pursued under the guise of defending human rights and in the form of a removal policy that is specific to the United States and its allies.
He said the U.S. request is entirely illegal as the Council members are fully aware that there is no precedent in the Council's practice of terminating an elected member's participation in a functional commission for any alleged reason, nor it is supported by the Council's rule of procedures.
“It is not at all unexpected that the United States is taking such unlawful action against Iran given its long-standing hostility toward the Iranian people, but if carried out, it would be exceedingly dangerous to the U.N. System's integrity," Mr. Iravani said.
"It contravenes the letter and spirit of the U.N. Charter, notably its basic notion of sovereign equality of states in membership with meaningful and equal participation in all multilateral forums, which has been recognised as the main pillar of multilateralism and the U.N. System. This illegal conduct might also create a dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences,” he said.
U.N. director at Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau said the removal of Iran from the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women is a “welcome" step toward holding the Iranian leadership accountable for its long history of discrimination and cruelty towards women and girls.
“But today’s justified action by U.N. member countries is a far cry from real accountability for those responsible for the security forces’ lethal violence against protesters after the death of Mahsa Amini, including many women and girls, and the execution of protesters after hasty unfair trials.
"What’s needed is urgent coordinated pressure on Iran to end its campaign of violence, credible prosecutions of individuals who are directly responsible for these appalling violations of human rights, and an end to the severe discrimination against women," Mr. Charbonneau said.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by the ECOSOC resolution of June 1946. The Commission comprises 45 Member States of the United Nations.
The commission consists of one representative from each of the 45 member states elected by the Economic and Social Council on the basis of equitable geographical distribution. Members are elected for a period of four years.