“UN dishonors women”

Solana Larsen

Here’s an example of some of the spectacularly negative things some American conservatives say about the UN process:

National Review (via Andrew Sullivan):

Last Friday, the UN surpassed itself as it finished its annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women by singling out Israel and only Israel (which actually has a very good record on women’s rights) as being the only state “found in violation of women’s rights.”

It’s outrageous the writer would make it sound like that everything that went on for two weeks was related to Israel. (Perhaps, a more interesting article for the National Review would be how the United States blocks international progress in women’s rights that would help the muslim women they supposedly care so much about.)

It was a PS to the meeting and not a central thing. Pakistan put forward a resolution on the Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, which refers to this report completed by the United Nations. Forty out of forty-five countries voted in favour of it. Granted, it is a little weird that Israel is the only country mentioned in any of the four resolutions suggested by states (and jeez, who is Pakistan to talk?). But it is a rather striking poll on international sentiment. Only the USA and Canada voted against. Here is a summary of how the Commission voted. The fact that Israel has a “good record” may be why it’s particularly important to point out (here’s a little reminder of the UN’s role in creation of Israel). OK, so it would be nice if there was no such thing as politics at UN meeting on women. But then it wouldn’t be governments sitting at the table.

The fact that representatives voted to help Palestinian women is no reason to slam the entire CSW or the UN. On the contrary. Here is a draft of the agreed conclusions of the CSW. It is a long and detailed document which will be of great assistance to women’s rights activists around the world. (No country is singled out. I am not sure if it is because the bit on Israel goes in a seperate document or simply hasn’t been included yet.)

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