Updated Dec 14, 2022, 1:36pm EST
Middle East

Iran has been ousted from UN women's body over protest crackdown


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A majority of world powers have voted to remove Iran from a United Nations women's body on Wednesday, citing Tehran's brutal crackdown on protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which oversees the commission, adopted a U.S.-draft resolution to remove Iran “with immediate effect”.

29 of 54 countries voted in favor, while 8 voted against. 16 abstained.

A woman walks after the morality police shut down in a street in Tehran, Iran.
Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency)
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This year, Iran began a four-year term on the Commission on the Status of Women, but activists said that the country's role in the 45-member bloc was "a farce", the Guardian reported, citing the regime's crackdown on women calling for equal rights.

On Monday, Iran and its allies wrote to the council warning that a vote to oust the country would set a “new trend for expelling sovereign and rightfully elected states from any given body of the international system.”


Iran has been gripped by what is seen as the largest anti-government protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The demonstrations, notably led by women and young people, began after Amini was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly, and later died in the custody of the morality police.

More than 18,000 protesters have been arrested since September, and Iranian authorities have sentenced 12 people to death. The regime has already executed two people over the protests; one was publicly hung as a warning to demonstrators.

In November, the UN Human Rights Council voted to launch an independent investigation into Iran's crackdown, which Tehran called "appalling and disgraceful."

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Politico reported that other countries were wary of the U.S. government dictating membership on UN panels, and noted that countries with similar –– if not worse –– track records on women's rights remain in the bloc, such as Pakistan and Somalia.

“I have heard a lot of diplomats say they think Iran’s actions are vile, but they worry that the U.S. will use these exclusionary tactics more in future. One day it’s Iran, the next day it could be you,” Richard Gowan, a U.N.-focused analyst at the International Crisis Group, told Politico.


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