Not a Joke – Saudi Arabia Chosen to Head UN Human Rights Panel

The United Nations has been criticised for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role – despite the country having “arguably the worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech – labelled the appointment “scandalous”, saying it meant “oil trumps human rights”.

UN Watch, an independent campaigning NGO, revealed Mr Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the ‘crown jewels’ of the HRC, according to UN Watch, which has obtained official UN documents, dated 17 September, confirming the appointment.

The Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a “macabre spike” in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.

“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,” he said.

Of course, the Saudis seem to get away with everything. Including a key role in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. See:

Meanwhile, this is merely the latest embarrassment for the UN. Recall the post from earlier this month:

Finally, for several articles highlighting egregious Saudi human rights abuses, see:

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