Did Ireland Help Put Saudi Ara...

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Did Ireland Help Put Saudi Arabia On Women's Rights Group?

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The government's refusing to say if it voted for Saudi Arabia to join a high-ranking UN committee on women's rights.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says Ireland's decisions on UN appointments are normally done by secret ballot.

But the refusal to reveal Ireland's vote for the UN Commission on the Status of Women has led to anger from the opposition.

Saudi Arabia was one of several candidate countries elected to sit on the Commission for 2018-2022 at a recent meeting of a separate UN body.

The 54 member countries of that UN group all had a vote, including Ireland; Saudi Arabia's candidacy was approved by 47 of them.

As the outgoing commission had ten EU countries, the Saudi candidacy must therefore had been approved by at least seven of them.

Belgium's prime minister has apologised to his country after it voted in favour of the Saudi bid, while Norway's government is also facing flak for its purported support. 

This lunchtime Ireland's foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan insisted Ireland had regularly raised concern about the human rights of Saudi women, but stood behind the refusal to disclose Ireland's voting habits.

Our political correspondent Gavan Reilly reports:


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