Will Saudi Arabia’s involvement with the UN Women’s Rights Commission force the state to improve the way women are treated within Saudi Arabia?
BY CAITLIN NOBLE
Saudi Arabia has been elected to serve on the UN’s Women’s Rights Commission from 2018, prompting widespread criticism. One of the organisations condemning the move is human rights group UN Watch, whose director has stated that “[e]lecting Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief”.
The country is notorious for its misogynistic laws, such as banning women from driving, a fact which many feel should disqualify it from participating in the commission. However, others have suggested that by being so closely involved, Saudi Arabia may be forced to improve its treatment of women.
Saudi Arabia’s participation in the UN’s Human Rights Council has drawn similar criticism, and this has brought worldwide attention to the country’s human rights violations. This new election may have the same effect, shining a spotlight on Saudi Arabia and putting pressure on its government to change.