At The U.N., The U.S. Is Aligning With Saudi Arabia Over Europe On Gender Issues

President Donald Trump at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, 2018.Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/Public Domain

President Trump is siding with the likes of Saudi Arabia over traditional U.S. allies on women's and LGBT rights.

Under President Donald Trump, the United States is set to align itself with the likes of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia during a United Nations conference on women this month, looking to thwart the expansion of rights for girls, women, and LGBT people, according to Foreign Policy.

The publication obtained a “confidential 96-page draft text under negotiations by delegates to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)” that reveals Trump is continuing to move the country away from traditional allies while lining up with less liberal nations.

Those countries include Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Malaysia, and some conservative African nations.

The director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International, Tarah Demant, said, “The U.S. continually wants to call out bad actors and human rights violators but then pals up with them at the U.N. There’s an irony there.”

While a U.S. official told Foreign Policy that the administration opposes discrimination in all its forms and is “unwavering in its support for women’s empowerment,” the U.S. delegation “is seeking to weaken international support for the Beijing Declaration, a landmark 1995 agreement that stands as an internationally recognized progressive blueprint for women’s rights,” the publication reported.

Those in line with the Trump administration’s position say it is merely maintaining its anti-abortion stance while continuing to promote the economic empowerment of women around the world.

But critics say Trump is treating allies with disdain as he sides with countries known for human rights abuses all in an effort to undercut women’s rights, as well as those of the LBGT community.

Shannon Kowalski, the director of advocacy and policy for the International Women’s Health Coalition, said the administration’s actions show it does not have women’s best interest in mind.

“Their efforts to undermine global commitments to gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights should lay to rest any notion that the Trump Administration cares about women or their human rights,” she said. “Instead they are trying to use the Commission to strip women and girls of their ability to exercise control over their lives.”

The administration is also going after LGBT rights, Foreign Policy reported: "In one section of the U.N. draft document promoting gender equality, the United States recommend adding an amendment making clear that it was referring only to women and girls. In another, the United States joined forces with Bahrain, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia to remove language underscoring the need for stronger “gender-responsive” human rights protections and investments in social services."

Emilie Kao, the director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, said she will raise the issue of bathroom policies when she attends CSW — policies that seek to accommodate transgender people but conservatives say pose a threat to women's safety.

Foreign Policy noted that "recent academic studies have found there is no link between bathroom safety and trans-inclusive bathrooms in the wake of a national debate on this issue."

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