Human rights Defenders condemn Saudi Arabia Bid to Head UN Rights Council 


May 16, Geneva: The Saudi monarchy is seeking to head the World’s top human rights body, UN Watch reported citing the sources that Saudi Arabia, an elected member of the 47-nation Human Rights Council, is actively lobbying the Asian group to be elected as president for 2016.

It all began with a rumor that has spread and reached the corridors of the Palace of Nations in Geneva that Saudi Arabia desires the presidency of the Council for Human Rights, however, this rumor is no longer a rumor, Faisal bin Hassan Trad, the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, in Geneva since January 2014, is indeed campaigning in the Asian group to be its candidate for the renewal, which will take place by the end of the year.

Hillel Neuer executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group said that the move liable to be “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of a body that already counts dictatorships like China, Cuba, and Russia as members, and whose top advisor is co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize”.

Neuer further said “We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam” and added “Electing Saudi Arabia as the World’s judge on human rights would be like making a pyromaniac as the town fire chief”.

In Geneva, the spokeswoman for Amnesty International, Nadia Boehlen, “It is unthinkable!” she sighs. For this human rights activist, it is “totally ironic that a country which so blithely tramples human rights by practicing cruel executions” covets the direction of the body that has the responsibility “to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe”.

John Fisher, Director of the Geneva office of Human Rights Watch, who keep hoping for the emergence of applications that could prevent the Saudi attempt to get its hands on the Council, he said “It is essential that the Asian Group offer a credible candidate to represent them,” he further said “the president of the Council of human rights plays a key role” in “the promotion and protection of human rights for all”, enormous pressure now weighs on the members of the Asia group. Some diplomats would have preferred that the approach by Saudi Arabia remain hidden.              The Oslo Times


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