UN Elects Yemen, Worst on Gender Equality,
as VP at UN's Gender Equality Agency
GENEVA, Jan. 9, 2019 — A human rights watchdog organization today condemned the UN's election of Yemen
, the lowest ranking country in the world on gender equality, to be vice-president of the Executive Board of UN Women,
which is the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
"Electing Yemen to protect women's rights is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group.
"We're calling on UN chief Antonio Guterres and high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet to speak out
against this absurd and morally repugnant decision, which sends absolutely the wrong message from the very organization
that is supposed to be protecting women from discrimination."
Yemen was ranked 149th out of 149
in last year's Global Gender Gap Report, produced by the World Economic Forum.
"How could the UN choose Yemen, a country that tolerates female genital mutilation, denies women hospital treatment
without the permission of a male relative, and counts a woman's testimony as worth half that of a man?" asked Neuer.
"We remind the UN that women in Yemen cannot marry without permission of their male guardians, and face deeply
entrenched discrimination in both law and practice, in all aspects of their lives, including employment, education and
"The election of Yemen as vice-president at UN Women is an insult to women's rights activists worldwide who struggle
against the persecution exemplified by Yemen's misogynistic laws and practices," added Neuer.
Executive Board members who joined the vote by acclamation yesterday to elect Yemen include Ireland, Norway and Sweden.
Beyond the symbolic significance, Yemen now acquires some influence in shaping discussions at the global women's rights
According to UN Women
, Yemen, as a member of the bureau, will work closely with the secretariat of the Executive Board to implement its
primary functions, including the organization of meetings and facilitating decision-making
. The work of the bureau that now includes Yemen is considered by the UN to be "indispensable to the smooth and
efficient functioning of the Board."
"Glad to be elected," tweeted
Yemeni deputy ambassador Mr. Marwan Ali Noman. "Warmest congrats Marwan, all the best mate!!" replied Mr. Murad Hussein
Issa, a Yemeni delegate
to the UN Human Rights Council.