The Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Nations was re-selected to chair an influential panel on the Human Rights Council, sparking the ire of human rights activists across the world, a UN watchdog group recently revealed.
Faisal bin Hassan Trad was first appointed to head the five-member group of ambassadors — known as the Consultative Group — in June this year. The UN ambassadors of Greece, Algeria, Chile and Lithuania make up the rest of the panel, which is charged with selecting applicants from around the world to fill more than 75 positions “with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective,” according to a UN document.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said in a statement that it was “scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS [the Islamic State] to be head of a key human rights panel. Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.
“Saudi Arabia has arg
uably 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,”
An Associated Press tally of announcements from the official Saudi Press Agency shows 83 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 2014, including Wednesday’s execution. Most were executed for drug smuggling.
Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world. The group lists 79 executions in Saudi Arabia in 2013 and 2012, and 82 in 2011 and 2010. The London-based rights group says at least 69 people were executed in 2009.
Meanwhile while US President Barack Obama claimed he prevented a nuclear arms race in the Middle East when he presented the Iran deal last Tuesday, a key source in Saudi Arabia laid bare that claim by expressing the country’s sense of urgency to acquire its own nuclear weapon.
Jamal Khashoggi, head of the Saudi Al Arab news channel that is owned by a prince of the ruling Saudi royal family, and who previously was the media aide to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Turki al Faisal, revealed that Saudi Arabia may be going nuclear very soon.