Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify how Ireland voted on Saudi Arabia’s successful bid to secure a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
O’Brien commented, “Saudi women are essentially treated as second class citizens, with their ability to carry out everyday tasks severely limited through a system of male guardianship and discriminatory policies. The idea that this regime would now contribute to policy discussions on the status of women sends out a very negative signal to those campaigning for equal rights in Saudi Arabia and around the world.

“Indeed, human rights monitors are highly critical of what has happened, and a debate is taking place in a number of countries about whether their decision was correct. While the Belgian Government has apologised for its stance, the Irish Government point blank refuses to say how we voted as a country and to explain that decision. This position is unacceptable.

“I have written to the Clerk of the Oireachtas Committee for Foreign Affairs and Trade to request that committee members are given the opportunity to discuss the Irish Government’s vote on Saudi Arabia’s bid to take a seat on the UN Commission. I am pleased that the Clerk has confirmed with me that members will debate the matter at our next meeting. I will also be pressing the Foreign Affairs Minister on the issue in the Dáil later this afternoon.”