Posted by: bahareiran | November 10, 2010

Iran fails to get seat on UN Women board

UNITED NATIONS, November 10, 2010 (AFP) – Iran failed to secure a seat on a key board running the new UN super agency to improve women’s rights as fierce lobbying by western nations and rights groups swayed an election Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, whose candidacy was also criticised, got an automatic seat and rights groups said they will now seek to put the spotlight on the kingdom’s record.

Iran was beaten to an Asian seat on the executive board by East Timor, a late entrant to the contest, in a vote at the UN General Assembly. Four UN agencies were merged this year to set up UN Women under the leadership of former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.

Iran had originally been guaranteed a place as the Asia region had put forward 10 candidates for 10 seats. Iran and Pakistan were on the agreed list.

East Timor risked the wrath of its Asian neighbors by putting itself forward as a spoiler late last week, as controversy mounted over Iran’s rights record, diplomats said. It won 36 votes against 19 for Iran.

The United States, European Union, Australia and Canada carried out an intensive diplomatic campaign to thwart Iran, diplomats said.

“It was an expression of disapproval of Iran’s rights record,” Norway’s UN ambassador Morten Wetland told AFP, explaining his country’s decision to back East Timor.


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