Hillary Clinton urges countries to boot Iran from UN women's commission

Former US secretary of state tells Tehran to 'listen to your people'

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Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton called on countries on Monday to “match the courage” of Iranian citizens and remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“A country that systematically abuses the rights of women and girls has no place participating on a commission whose purpose is to protect those rights,” Ms Clinton said.

Every day that Iran remains a member of that commission, she continued, that body and the UN lose credibility.

Speaking in New York at a press preview of an art installation entitled Eyes on Iran, developed in support of the ongoing women’s rights protest movement in the country, Ms Clinton took the Iranian regime to task.

“I'm saying to the people who control Iran, who have suppressed freedom, not for religion and ideology as they claim but for the sheer raw exercise of power: listen to your people.”

She also criticized those who are working to roll back hard-earned rights around the world.

“Think of the women in Afghanistan deprived of education, the women in Ukraine defending their country against the barbarity of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's invasion, the women here in the United States fighting for our bodily autonomy,” she said, referencing a US Supreme Court decision earlier this year ending the right to abortion.

“We all struggle and we all have a right to be free and equal. Yet we know this is not easy.”

The former Democratic presidential candidate was joined by human rights lawyer and director of the Strategic Litigation Project at the Atlantic Council Gissou Nia, who said that more than 18,000 protesters in Iran have been jailed so far, with some subjected to custodial torture and others sentenced to execution.

US Vice President Kamala Harris announced on November 2 that Washington would work to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The US circulated on Monday a draft resolution that will be put to a vote on December 14 at the 54 member UN's Economic and Social Council.

The resolution denounces Iran's policies as "flagrantly contrary to the human rights of women and girls and to the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women," and would remove Iran with "immediate effect from the commission for the remainder its 2022-2026 term", a UN diplomat told The National.

It will need a simple majority to pass.

The UN commission and its members are charged with promoting women’s rights and addressing “urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights”.

Also attending the event was prominent local Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat, whose work has been shaped by the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Ms Neshat accused the Iranian regime of keeping its people hostage and creating an “atmosphere of terror, subjecting us to live under a constant state of fear for over 43 years”.

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday voted to begin an investigation into Iran's deadly crackdown on protests.

Volker Turk, the UN human rights commissioner, had earlier demanded that Iran end its “disproportionate” use of force in quashing protests that erupted after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16.

Tehran on Monday rejected the newly appointed independent investigation into the suppression of anti-government protests, and Iran's foreign ministry spokesman stressed the country will not co-operate with the political committee formed by the UN Human Rights Council.

The unrest has posed one of the boldest challenges to Iran's ruling clerical elite since it came to power in the 1979, though authorities have crushed previous rounds of major protests.

Iran has blamed foreign foes and their agents for the unrest.

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Updated: November 29, 2022, 1:08 AM
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