Selection of Saudia Arabia to head UN human rights panel sparks anger

Published: September 20, 2015
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H E Faisal bin Hassan Trad presents his credentials to Michael Møller (right), the Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. January 7, 2014. PHOTO: UN

H E Faisal bin Hassan Trad presents his credentials to Michael Møller (right), the Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. January 7, 2014. PHOTO: UN

The United Nations has come under criticism over giving a key human rights role to Saudi Arabia despite the Kingdom’s notorious record on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics remarked the appointment is “scandalous”, observing it meant “oil trumps human rights.”

Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned liberal blogger Raif Badawi, said on her Facebook that handing the key role of a human right to Faisal bin Hassan Trad was but “a green light to start flogging [Raif] again.”

Trad is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the United Nations in Geneva, who has been elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the United Nations Human Rights Council, an NGO named UN watch discovered.

The Saudi Ambassador will now be able to select applicants from around the world for legion of experts hailing from countries where the UN has mandate on human rights.

The UN body for promoting human rights around the world has long been the subject of criticism because it granted membership to various countries that had dubious human rights records.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said selection made in June remained unreported until now. He said that it may have been a consolation prize for the Saudis after withdrew their bid to head the 47-nation council in the wake of international condemnation of the kingdom’s human rights record.

Neuer described the selection as scandalous and 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.

The article originally appeared on The Independent

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Parvez
    Sep 21, 2015 - 12:01AM

    …..and now we’ve seen it all. Noman Ansari where are you ?Recommend

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