UN Women's Board: Iran Out, Saudi In

Hamidon Ali, permanent representative of Malaysia to the United Nations and president of the Economic and Social Council, chairs the council’s election of 41 members of the U.N. Women's executive board on Nov. 10, 2010. Photo by: Ryan Brown / United Nations

Iran has failed in its bid to secure a board seat at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, or U.N. Women.

>> Possible Iran, Saudi Arabia Board Seats at UN Women Criticized

Iran “lost handily” to Timor Leste, a late entrant, in a vote of the 54-member U.N. Economic and Social Council, according to Susan Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the U.N.

The Islamic nation had initially been guaranteed a seat because there were no competititors. Asia put forward 10 nations for the 10 seats, but Timor Leste proposed itself late last week, Agence France-Presse reports.

>> UN Women Board Election Set

“I am not going to deny that there were several countries that are going to join the board of U.N. Women that have less than stellar records on women’s rights, indeed human rights,” Rice told reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Nov. 10.

Meantime, Saudi Arabia, which also drew flak for its bid to join the U.N. Women’s board, secured a seat.

Human rights activists had criticized Saudi Arabia’s possible inclusion in the U.N. Women’s board. Women are not allowed to drive and use facilities utilized by men in the Islamic country, BBC notes. 

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  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.