Pakistan elected to UN women’s board
UNITED NATIONS – Forty-one members, including Pakistan, were elected on Wednesday to the Executive Board of the newly-created UN agency on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The elections, held in the 54-member Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), will enable the new board to come together prior to the official establishment on January 1, 2011 of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women or UN Women. Pakistan polled 50 votes in the first election for UN women.
The 41 board members were selected on the following basis: 10 each from Asia and Africa, four from Eastern Europe, six from Latin America and the Caribbean, five from West Europe and six from the contributing countries.
Elected from the African Group were Angola, Cape Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Besides Pakistan, others elected Asian States are: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Timor-Leste. Estonia, Hungary, Russia and Ukraine were elected from among the Eastern Europe, while Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden were elected from the Western European.
In addition, the Council elected Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada and Peru from the group of Latin American and Caribbean.
The Council also elected Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Kingdom and United States from among the contributing countries, for a three-year term beginning Wednesday. The 35 members elected from the regional groups will serve two-year and three-years, beginning today, as determined by the drawing of lots.
Chosen to serve a two-year term were Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, El Salvador, Estonia, France, India, Italy, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania and Timor-Leste.
Angola, Cape Verde, China, Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Grenada, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sweden and Ukraine were selected to serve three-year term.
Headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, UN Women is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).
The new agency was established on July 2 by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs. One of its goals will be to support the Commission on the Status of Women and other inter-governmental bodies in devising policies.
In carrying out its functions, The UN Women will work with an annual budget of at least $500 million – double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.
Meanwhile, despite the Asian Group’s endorsement, Iran lost 19-31 to Timor-Leste, which joined the contest a few days earlier. The United States and the Western allies engineered Iran’s defeat, saying Iran’s human rights record would send the wrong message about the new body.
American Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters afterwards, “We’ve made no secret of our concern that Iran joining the board of UN Women would have been an inauspicious start to that board.”
Timor-Leste stepped forward a week ago to contest what had been an uncontested slate of 10 countries, one for each Asian seat on the board.
Asked about poor human rights record of Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, Rice said, “I am not going to deny that there were several countries that are going to join the board of UN Women that have less than stellar records on women’s rights, indeed human rights.”
Eshagh al-Habib, the deputy permanent representative, accused the United States of playing ‘childish’ political games, arguing practices like sentencing women to death by stoning for adultery were extremely rare.
Source: The Nation