Despite beheading prisoners, oppressing women, executing homosexuals and imprisoning those that speak out against them, Saudi Arabia has been named the new chair of a panel of independent experts on human rights at the United Nations.
Execution, oppression, torture, extremism. Descriptions more commonly applied to ISIS, the organization universally referred to as extremists and terrorists. Yet Saudi Arabia has one of the worst attitudes to human rights in the world, as pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi found out when he was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for writing about free speech.
The appointment, made in June but only revealed this week, seems to have been handed to the Saudis after they withdrew their original bid to head up the committee in light of international condemnation of their human rights record – a bid made just days after Saudi Arabia had publicly advertised for the recruitment of state executioners because they had such a backlog of people waiting on their equivalent of Death Row.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer described the appointment as “scandalous”, adding that “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.”
Just days after the appointment was made, Saudi Arabia announces that teenager Ali Mohammed al-Nimr has been sentenced to die by crucifixion. Yes, you read that right – crucifixion, like 2,000 years ago.
For those not in the know, “UN” supposedly stands for “United Nations”. United in what would that be, exactly? The price of oil? United against Refugees, homosexuals, women and free speech? Or maybe just “Un-united Nothings”. Might as well invite ISIS to join the neighbourhood watch.