— Amnesty NL (@amnestynl) 25 april 2017
On April 25, the Dutch branch of Amnesty International responded to Saudi Arabia being elected to take place in the United Nations “Commission on the Status of Women“. Amnesty is not a Saudi regime apologist, and keeps track of Saudi human rights violations. The Australian branch even called for Saudi Arabia’s suspension from the UN’s Human Rights council.
So why is the Dutch branch applauding Saudi Arabia’s election into the “Commission on the Status of Women”? The tweet above reads:
“If Saudi Arabia enters the UN Women’s Council other member states have the ability to criticise Saudi policy through that council.”
In a news report later that day Amnesty’s Ruud Bosgraaf stated about their election:
“We’re not against it per se. Outside of the council you also don’t have a way to address Saudi Arabia’s violation of women’s rights.”
All sounds well, but it doesn’t add up. Of course one can address Saudi violations of women’s rights in other ways. Lets, for the sake of argument, suppose that women are human beings, then surely women’s rights violations can be addressed in the UN’s Human Rights council?
The only thing Saudi Arabia’s seat in the Women’s rights commission will achieve is a further distortion and confusion of an institution that was once supposed to function as a moral benchmark.