Again: Saudis Elected Chair of UN Human Rights Council
GENEVA, September 20, 2015 - U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU
foreign minister Federica Mogherini should condemn and work to reverse the
appointment of Saudi Arabia as chair of a key UN Human Rights Council panel,
with the power to select top officials who shape international human rights
standards and report on violations worldwide, said UN Watch, a non-governmental
human rights organization based in Geneva.
that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to
be head of a key human rights panel,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel
Neuer. “Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.”
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,” Neuer added.
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
documents obtained by UN Watch, Saudi Arabia was chosen to head a 5-member
group of ambassadors, known as the Consultative Group, which has the power to
select applicants from around the world for more than 77
positions dealing with country-specific and thematic human rights
UN often describes these experts as the ‘crown jewels’ of its Human Rights
Council, yet the world body only undermines their legitimacy by picking a
fundamentalist theocracy that oppresses women and minorities to preside over the
Arabia Re-elected to Key Panel
report dated September 17th reports that Faisal Trad, Saudi Arabia’s envoy
to the UNHRC, was selected to chair the panel for appointments to be made in the
session of the council, which opened on Monday and will last for another two
weeks. The Saudi ambassador was first elected
to the post ahead of the recent June 2015 session, yet Geneva diplomats chose to
keep silent and that initial election went unreported until now.
Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar receiving the 2015 Geneva Summit
Award on behalf of her husband, a political prisoner in
delivered to her home in Sherbrooke, Quebec,
by UN Watch executive director
Hillel Neuer, on July
for Dropping Saudi Presidency Bid?
expressed concern that the Saudis may have been handed the position in a
backroom deal, in exchange for dropping the regime’s controversial bid to become
president of the entire 47-nation council. “I urge Ambassador Power and High
Commissioner Mogherini to confirm that this is not the case,” he said.
pulled out from seeking the council presidency in June following UN Watch’s protest campaign, covered in newspapers worldwide.
& EU Were Silent When Saudi Arabia Was Elected to UNHRC in 2013
“We cannot forget that the U.S. and the EU refused to
utter a word of protest when we urged them, together with Saudi
dissidents, to oppose the monarchy’s election in 2013. 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, like human
rights activist Raif Badawi.
NOW GOING VIRAL ON
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