Who knew the UN had a sense of humor? The organization announced today that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Federal Republic of Nigeria had been invited to join the Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women.
The Working Group is a committee within the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which describes itself as “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
It’s an interesting move, to say the least, considering the way women are viewed in both countries. In 2017, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Sayyid Ali Khamenei, trashed gender equality using the most damning language he could, which is to say he called it “Zionist conspiracy” aimed at destroying human society. In 2016, an Iranian woman was sentenced to six years in prison after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard searched her home and found a notebook that contained an unpublished fictional story she’d written about a woman who was stoned to death for adultery. It was an interesting development considering that since 2010, death by stoning has been practiced by Iran, as well as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and in some predominantly Muslim states in northern Nigeria.
In Nigeria, “Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented systematic human rights abuses [of women] by Boko Haram and government security forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions.” Human Rights Watch has additionally called on authorities in Nigeria “to end arrests, detention and prosecutions based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Somehow these details escaped the attention of the UN.