However, the fundamentalist monarchy—a regime now beheading more people than ever before—still retains their power as a full voting member of the 47-nation council, which continues to be silent as Saudi warplanes indiscriminately pound Yemen daily, with already 1,942 people killed and 7,870 people injured since March.
Regrettably, the U.S. and the EU both refused to utter a word in protest when UN Watch urged them, together with Saudi dissidents, to oppose the House of Saud’s election in 2013. At the UN, it seems, oil continues to trump basic human rights principles.
Saudi Court Upholds Conviction of Blogger for “Insulting Islam” — as UN Officials Address “Religious Tolerance” Conference in Jeddah, Where Badawi Sits in Jail
Despite its reputation as one the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, Saudi Arabia last week was allowed to play host in Jeddah to a UN-backed human rights conference on “combating intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief” — attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and other top international representatives.
As Saudi Arabia’s highest court upheld the sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for blogger Raif Badawi, the UNHRC leadership legitimized the intolerant regime by attending the event in Jeddah, a short stroll away from where the authorities lashed Badawi for “insulting Islam,” and close to where he today sits in a Jeddah jail cell.
Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, expressed outrage.
For top UN human rights officials to visit Jeddah and smile while Badawi languishes in prison for the crime of religious dissent, still under threat of further flogging, is to pour salt in the wounds.
The Obama Administration sent two top envoys to participate, religious freedom ambassador David Saperstein, and Arsalan Suleman, Acting Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Also, Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, addressed one of the panels. Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, and FIDH also attended, said the president.
Hosted by the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the official purpose of the meeting was to “discuss the effective implementation of Resolution 16/18 by building on existing initiatives and identifying new collaborative opportunities.”