The United Nations has finally done the bare minimum, as 29 countries voted to remove Iran from the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. If only it would be willing to fix its more fundamental flaws.
The United States led the push to remove Iran from this council, a vote that 16 countries abstained from and just eight opposed, including China and Russia. The vote was in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, who was killed by Iran’s “morality police” for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly. In the months since, at least 488 people have been killed after the protests began, with another 18,200 being arrested.
While it is good news that Iran was kicked out from this commission, the question of why it was even allowed on the commission in the first place remains. Iran did not magically become a terrible place for women after Amini died. Women were already living under the threat of the same fate in the Islamic Republic. And yet, Iran was allowed to sit on the commission since 2019.
The obvious follow-up question is why China and Russia are on this commission — or on any committee, for that matter. China, Venezuela, Qatar, Pakistan, and Cuba all sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council. So do Somalia, Sudan, and Libya, three countries that the U.N. itself lists as among those with human trafficking and “forced commercial sexual exploitation” crises. Russia did too, until it launched its war against Ukraine, as if the country was a beacon of human rights before then.
The U.N. cannot be reformed. The organization is toxic to its core, to the point that the most notable thing that it can do is overrule some authoritarian regimes to remove other authoritarian regimes from councils and committees that it put them on in the first place. Any global body that gives the U.S. the same vote as China on human rights or Iran the same seat at a women’s council as France or the United Kingdom is not worth anyone’s time, and it certainly isn’t worth billions in taxpayer dollars.
The U.N. is a bloated bureaucracy staffed by the most useless people on the planet. The premise of the organization, that every country gets an equal vote no matter what its track record is on human rights or other issues, is fundamentally flawed. There is no reason for us, or any country that cares about human rights, to waste time or money on the U.N.