Leader of the Geneva based human rights group UN Watch Hillel Neuer commented that “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”
Neuer went on to criticise the move
“It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible. This is a black day for women’s rights, and for all human rights. Saudi discrimination against women is gross and systematic in law and in practice. Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia bans women from driving cars. Why did the U.N. choose the world’s leading promoter of gender inequality to sit on its gender equality commission?”
Saudi women feel betrayed by the UN. “I wish I could find the words to express how I feel right know. I’m ‘saudi’ and this feels like betrayal,”tweeted a self-described Saudi woman pursuing a doctorate in international human rights law in Australia.”
“Today the UN sent a message that women’s rights can be sold out for petro-dollars and politics,” said Neuer, “and it let down millions of female victims worldwide who look to the world body for protection.”
The vote was greeted warmly by Helen Clark, former administrator of the UN Development Programme and prime minister of New Zealand. Asked about the election of the Saudis to the commission on Twitter, Ms Clark said: “It's important to support those in the country who are working for change for women. Things are changing, but slowly.”
Drive a car
Wear clothes or make-up that "show off their beauty"
Interact with men
Go for a swim
Compete freely in sports
Try on clothes when shopping
Enter a cemetery
Read an uncensored fashion magazine
The UN would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. It gets more absurd by the day.
In March Saudi Arabia launched its first ever girls' council meeting with publicity photos showing 13 men on stage and no women. Organisers said women were involved in the launch event, but that they were obliged to sit in a separate room.
The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap report ranked Saudi Arabia 134 out of 145 countries for gender equality. It is the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving and are unable to obtain a driving licence.