World Affairs

21 Former Foreign Ministers Call for Iran’s Removal from the Commission on the Status of Women

December 13, 2022  • Aspen Ministers Forum (AMF)

H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi
President of the General Assembly
United Nations

Dear Mr. President,

We are a group of former foreign ministers who just met in Prague for urgent consultations on threats to human freedom globally. We agreed that among the most pressing challenges is the Iranian regime’s systematic oppression of women and its brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors who are raising their voices for women’s rights. This week, the United Nations has an opportunity to stand in solidarity with Iranian women while upholding its founding principles. We therefore appeal to UN member states to vote YES on the resolution being considered at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to immediately remove the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.

As the world’s principal intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Commission plays a vital role in advancing global security, prosperity and freedom. With women’s rights under assault around the world, including in Afghanistan, the Commission has never been more important. But it risks being fatally undermined by the presence of a repressive regime that is fundamentally opposed to the Commission’s mission. A broad coalition of Iranian women and citizens, backed by civil society organizations, have led the campaign for Iran’s removal from the Commission.  If you could please share this letter and our concerns with all member states today ahead of tomorrow’s vote at ECOSOC, it would be much appreciated. We urge you and the member states to heed their calls for action by standing firmly on the side of human rights when the votes are cast.

Maria Eugenia Brizuela de Avila
El Salvador

Lloyd Axworthy

Mohamed Benaissa

Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States

Erik Derycke

Alexander Downer

Joschka Fischer

Jaime Gama

Marina Kaljurand

Kyung-wha Kang
South Korea

Tzipi Livni

Susana Malcorra

Donald McKinnon
New Zealand

Federica Mogherini

Claudia Ruiz Massieu

Ana Palacio

Lydie Polfer

Malcolm Rifkind
United Kingdom

Jozias van Aartsen

Knut Vollebaek

Margot Wallström