UN draws fire after electing Somalia, Congo to women’s rights boards: ‘Asking the fox to guard the chickens’



The United Nations has elected a number of nations with poor girls’s rights information to boards charged with selling these rights — main one critic to check the choice to “asking the fox to protect the chickens.”

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lebanon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have been amongst these elected by the U.N.’s Financial and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the Government Board of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Ladies (U.N. Ladies), whereas Somalia was amongst these elected to the U.N. Fee on the Standing of Ladies.


The Government Board governs U.N. Ladies’s operational actions, approves its applications and actions, and decides the budgets and monetary plans of the physique. The Fee on the Standing of Ladies, in the meantime, is tasked with “the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of ladies,” in accordance with its web site.

“The CSW is instrumental in selling girls’s rights, documenting the truth of ladies’s lives all through the world, and shaping world requirements on gender equality and the empowerment of ladies,” the web site says.

Whereas quite a few different nations comparable to Germany and New Zealand have been additionally elected to phrases on these panels, the presence of countries with poor girls’s rights information is more likely to elevate questions.

The World Financial Discussion board’s International Gender Hole Report positioned Congo at 144th out of 147 nations it monitored. Lebanon was 140th, Nigeria was 133rd and Sierra Leone was 114th.

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. (iStock)

The elections are the most recent instance of nations with questionable information being elected to U.N. our bodies charged with defending rights. (iStock)

“The election to U.N. girls’s rights our bodies of nations comparable to Somalia, the place feminine genital mutilation is widespread, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, which many take into account the rape capital of the world, is a betrayal of the UN’s founding rules,” Hillel Neuer, govt director of U.N. Watch, an impartial monitoring group based mostly in Switzerland, advised Fox Information.

“By inserting regimes which are complicit with among the worst crimes dedicated towards girls to world management posts on girls’s equality, the U.N. is saying that they don’t actually care in regards to the rights of ladies,” he mentioned. “This simply sends completely the incorrect message.”

A U.N. Ladies official burdened to Fox Information that elections are a member states-led course of with member states being elected by their friends, and that subsequently the physique doesn’t touch upon the nations elected to the board and fee.

“U.N. Ladies welcomes in inter-governmental fora all nations which are curious about discussing and selling gender equality and the empowerment of ladies,” the official mentioned. “The U.N. Ladies Government Board and the CSW are Member State fora the place all nations have the correct to contribute to a constructive dialogue on gender equality.”

The U.N. Ladies’s web site itself provides some damning summaries of these nations which were elected. It notes that “the ladies of Somalia bear an unequal brunt of the hardships occasioned by poverty, battle and clan-based tradition which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority.”

“Somalia has extraordinarily excessive charges of maternal mortality, rape, instances of feminine genital mutilation, violence towards girls and youngster marriage,” the U.N. Ladies’s web site says. “Ladies’s entry to justice is restricted each inside the formal, clan based mostly and sharia-based judicial techniques. Ladies face restricted entry to financial assets and belongings. That is compounded by girls’s low participation in politics and resolution making spheres.”

“Violence towards girls and women stays excessive in Somalia with displaced girls and women focused. Somalia additionally has a historical past of violent assaults on girls leaders, girls who converse out towards gender-based violence and the women and men who defend them,” it says.


U.N. Ladies studies that within the DRC, as much as 52 p.c of ladies are survivors of home violence, and that girls have little entry to first rate jobs, much less entry to training and decrease charges of literacy.

Lebanon, in the meantime, is praised for latest strides in girls empowerment and for having “one of the vital vibrant feminist actions within the Arab area” however the report notes a variety of “authorized, institutional and social hurdles to girls’s full enjoyment of their rights stay in place” and the labor power participation charge for girls is simply 22 p.c, in contrast with 72 p.c for males.


“Nations that present contempt to the founding functions of UN girls’s rights our bodies ought to by no means have been elected as their leaders,” Neuer mentioned. “It’s asking the fox to protect the chickens.”

The elections are the most recent instance of nations with questionable information being elected to U.N. our bodies charged with defending rights. The Human Rights Council, from which the U.S. withdrew final yr, presently contains Cuba, China, DRC, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia amongst its members.


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