THE United Nations (UN) has been attacked over the “scandalous” appointment of a Saudi Arabia official to a top human rights job – despite the repressive regime having beheaded more people this year than Islamic State.
The election of Faisal bin Hassan Trad to chair a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) follows a barrage of criticism aimed at the Saudi regime over its treatment of minorities and its apparent fondness for capital punishment.
Mr Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was appointed to the role in June - shortly after the kingdom posted an advert for eight new executioners.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer described the move as a victory for cheap oil over human rights.
Mr Neuer said
: “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.”
Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who has been leading a campaign to free her husband, said the move gave Saudi Arabia “a green light to start flogging [him] again”.
A 2015 Human Rights Watch report accused the Saudis of “systematic discrimination against women and religious minorities” and claimed “authorities subjected hundreds of people to unfair trials and arbitrary detention”.
In the first six months of 2015, Saudi Arabia beheaded more than 100 people.
Decapitations, whippings and mutilations are common punishments for crimes including drug use and smuggling, homosexuality and adultery.
Only Iran carried out more killings.
Mr Neuer added: “It’s a sad comment on our world that oil continues to trump basic human rights principles.
“It’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia is a member of the council, but for the UN to go and name the regime as chair of a key panel only pours salt in the wounds for dissidents languishing in Saudi prisons.
"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."
The HRC has long attracted controversy for granting membership to countries with dubious human rights records.
Its current members include China, Qatar and Russia.
Source: Express, Tom Batchelor, Sept. 21, 2015