Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The addition of the Gulf nation was first flagged by UN Watch, a nongovernmental body that monitors the United Nations. The Commission on the Status of Women’s main mission is to assess the challenges to reaching gender inequality, according to the U.N. website.
The organization’s executive director slammed the election, which occurred in a secret vote during the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.
“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Hillel Neuer said.
Neuer called the election “absurd,” noting that all women in Saudi Arabia “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”
Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, is also on the U.N. Human Rights Council.