On Wednesday, the United Nations (UN) voted to place Saudi Arabia on its commission for the empowerment of women even though the country outlaws women from leaving home without a male accompanying them.
The Daily Caller reports the UN’s Economic and Social Council conducted the vote via secret ballot.
According to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) website, it is the “principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
Saudi women have long suffered from rampant domestic abuse and have been stripped of women’s rights. The report claims Saudi Arabia recorded its highest rate of domestic violence cases in 2016 and ranked 134th out of 145 countries for gender equality in 2015.
To make matters worse, many women in the region live in confinement and are prohibited from venturing outside of their homes unless joined by a male guardian. They must also seek permission first before traveling, marrying, engaging in business affairs, or undergoing any medical procedures.
The level of oppression and abuse has become so extreme that some women attempt to flee to other countries and seek asylum. If the woman is caught, she could likely serve a prison sentence or be punished with brutal beatings or even death.
In November, several human rights groups were outraged by the UN’s decision to elect Saudi Arabia to its human rights council, given the country’s questionable track record. Some organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International even called for the suspension of the country’s membership.
Saudi Arabia’s membership to both the human rights council and commission on the status of women will give it a say in key resolutions and platforms over the next several years.
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