Ivana Bacik TD
04 May 2017

Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Senator Ivana Bacik, has expressed concern at reports Ireland may have voted in favour of Saudi Arabia securing a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify the Irish position.

 Senator Bacik commented:

“Saudi Arabia has an appalling record on women’s rights, particularly due to the so-called ‘male guardianship’ system, which forbids women from travelling abroad, marrying or accessing certain public services without the approval of a male guardian, either a husband, father, son or brother.

“Women generally are denied basic civil and human rights under Saudi law, and individual cases of women’s repression are regularly raised internationally.

“Just last month, many of us raised the case of Dina Ali Lasloom, who had attempted to escape to Australia to escape restrictions imposed by her Saudi family, but was returned to Saudi Arabia having been seized at Manila airport in the Philippines- she is apparently now in a Saudi detention centre.

“The UN Commission of the Status of Women is an international body ‘dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women’.

“It is outrageous that Saudi Arabia is now elected as a member of the Commission, and very worrying to see reports that five European states may have voted in favour of its membership.

“I call now on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, to clarify whether Ireland was one of the states which supported Saudi membership.”

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