The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world and is preparing to behead and crucify a 21-year-old activist, was appointed this week to head the United Nations Human Rights Council.

This video from AJ Plus examines the country’s appalling human rights abuses and ponders why this decision was made.

From the Daily Beast:

The hypocrisy behind this decision need hardly be stated. The Saudi government is unelected and run by one large family, or clan. Not only does it have the death penalty on its statute, it executes prisoners with particular relish, turning their executions into a public spectacle. Torture is routine in its prisons and offenders of certain crimes are flogged in public. The denial of the right to drive is among the least of the abuses women suffer in the country. Foreigners who live in Saudi Arabia—be they well-paid expatriates or construction workers living in slavery-like conditions—have to be on the guard constantly so that they don’t fall foul of its laws that violate the norms of free and fair trials. Its vast wealth is used to acquire weapons at home and finance fundamentalist movements abroad which cause havoc in distant societies, transforming native forms of Islam into Wahhabism which bears little relation to the universal declaration of human rights.

Hillel Neuer, executive director at UN Watch, which tracks some of the grander absurdities of the UNHRC, called Saudi Arabia’s appointment “scandalous” because it “has beheaded more people this year than ISIS.” Ensaf Haidar, whose husband Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech in Saudi Arabia, said the appointment would in effect give “a green light to start flogging [Badawi] again.” Others have blamed the power of oil wealth—“oil continues to trump basic human rights principles,” Neuer added, according to reports.

Read more here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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