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

December 14, 2022

In a letter addressed to Csaba Kőrösi, President of the UN General Assembly, 21 Former Foreign Ministers urged UN member states to vote YES on a resolution to remove the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women. This letter is the result of an Aspen Ministers Forum meeting held in Prague, Czech Republic in December 2022.

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute

Letter from the Aspen Ministers Forum

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



The Aspen Ministers Forum, a project of the Aspen Strategy Group, is an initiative of former foreign ministers from around the world and across the political spectrum. The group seeks to develop concrete, non-partisan recommendations to address common global challenges. Through its members in-depth understanding of foreign policy, and continued leadership as members of parliament and advisers to governments, the group has examined and provided recommendations on issues including the fight against terrorism, Middle East peace, humanitarian intervention, and reform of the international architecture.

The Aspen Institute
 is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

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