In a moral failure of staggering proportion, Saudi Arabia has been appointed to head up a key UN Human Rights panel that shapes standards on international human rights.
According to reports, the United Nations has appointed Saudi Arabia representative Faisal bin Hassan Trad as head of a key human rights panel that is tasked with naming experts that determine global human rights standards and report on human rights violations around the world.
About the appointment, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said:
It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel.
Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights. Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi.
This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council that already counts Russia, Cuba, China, Qatar and Venezuela among its elected members.
Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech, called the appointment “scandalous,” saying it meant “oil trumps human rights,” and “a green light to start flogging [Badawi] again.”
Indeed, the Gulf State has one of the world’s worst human rights record. A backward, ugly, mean, and repressive regime, the Saudi kingdom gives out the death penalty for homosexuality, denies women the most basic human rights, and commits many other despicable human rights abuses.
In Saudi Arabia, women are second class citizens, treated more like children than adults. Women are required to dress in black from head to toe, and require permission from a male guardian to travel, work and/or marry.
Adding insult to injury, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which does not allow women to drive.
In addition to the abysmal treatment of women and homosexuals, Saudi Arabia is a place where migrant workers are routinely tortured and sexually abused, while young children are frequently imprisoned without trial and executed.
In Saudi Arabia, atheists are considered terrorists, and atheism is prosecuted as a crime, with lengthy prison sentences for anyone “calling for atheist thought” or “calling into question the fundamentals of Islam.”
In Saudi Arabia there is no political freedom, no religious freedom, no freedom of speech. It is, in fact, one of the most repressive regimes in recent history, and an affront to human rights and human dignity.
Saudi Arabia does not have a written constitution or an elected legislative body. There are no elections of any kind. All political parties are banned, as are most forms of association. All critical political expression is forbidden. The press is strictly regulated, and assembly is severely restricted.
Later this week, a Saudi prisoner arrested when he was 17 years old, will face “death by crucifixion” for taking part in anti-government protests.
The ugly and repressive Islamic nightmare that is Saudi Arabia continues. The fact that the U.S. and other western powers count this backward and repressive regime as an ally only serves to demonstrate the insidious power of oil to shape and move global politics.
Bottom line: The appointment of a Saudi Arabia representative to be the head of a key UN human rights panel represents a moral failure of epic proportion.