Human rights groups outraged after Saudi Arabia elected to UN women's rights commission

Human rights groups outraged after Saudi Arabia is elected to UN women's rights commission

Saudi Arabia has joined the UN women’s rights commission

Monday, April 24, 2017

Human rights groups have been outraged at the news that Saudi Arabia has been elected to the UN women’s rights commission.

The panel promotes women's rights, documents the lives of women throughout the world and shapes global standard on empowerment and gender equality, according to the UN.

Saudi Arabia was voted onto the panel by at least five EU states in a secret ballot and will serve a four-year-term. 

The hardline Muslim country has a state policy which segregates men and women who aren't related, The Independent says. It is also the only country which does not allow women to drive or even own a driving licence.

The country was ranked 14th out of 145 in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap report.

Director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer said: "Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death.

"Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief. It's absurd."

But the former administrator of the UN Development Programme Helen Clark said on Twitter: “It's important to support those in the country who are working for change for women. Things are changing, but slowly.”