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Kiriakou writes: "Saudi Arabia has completed its first three months as Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council. If anything exemplifies the irrelevance of the United Nations and the body's seeming inability to put its collective foot down on human rights abuses around the world, it is having Saudi Arabia as the leader of the UN body that is supposed to protect those human rights around the world."

Faisal Trad, Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Geneva, has been elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts. (photo: UN)
Faisal Trad, Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Geneva, has been elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts. (photo: UN)


Saudi Arabia and the UN's Human Rights Scandal

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

11 December 15

 

audi Arabia has completed its first three months as Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council. If anything exemplifies the irrelevance of the United Nations and the body's seeming inability to put its collective foot down on human rights abuses around the world, it is having Saudi Arabia as the leader of the UN body that is supposed to protect those human rights around the world.

You remember Saudi Arabia. It's the country in the Middle East with which the United States has had a “special relationship” since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. It's the country from which the U.S. buys 17 percent of its oil. It's the country that intervened in May in Yemen's civil war and has killed about 650 civilians per month ever since, all in the name of “combating Iran.” It's the country that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from. It's also a country that has an absolutely dismal record of human rights abuses.

Indeed, the executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization that monitors the performance of the United Nations, said of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Council chairmanship. “It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel.” He's right.

In the past three months the Saudis have made no pretense of respecting human rights. On November 17, a Saudi court sentenced artist Ashraf Fayadh to death on charges of apostasy. His crime? He wrote a poem that the royal family didn't like. And Fayadh's case is the rule, rather than the exception. The Saudis this year also have sentenced a 17-year-old to die by crucifixion for taking part in an anti-royal demonstration. They have sentenced a liberal blogger to a public flogging, which also often results in death; and a Saudi court gave a British senior citizen a sentence of 350 lashes for having a bottle of homemade wine in his car.

Congress has mandated that every year the State Department prepare a Human Rights Report on every country in the world. This document is supposed to aid the Department in formulating its foreign policy and to help hone the human rights issues on which the U.S. can help other countries. The 2014 Human Rights Report for Saudi Arabia, the most recent year for which the report is available, is a chilling document. And the implication of its conclusions is that the U.S. either has no influence in Saudi Arabia whatsoever or that our government has chosen to ignore Saudi Arabia's gross human rights abuses because the country is a major U.S. supplier of oil and a major consumer of U.S. defense systems.

You be the judge. The report's opening paragraphs set the tone for the next 57 pages:

The most important human rights problems reported included citizens' lack of the ability and legal means to change their government; pervasive restrictions on universal rights such as freedom of expression, including on the internet, and freedom of assembly, association, movement, and religion; and a lack of equal rights for women, children, and noncitizen workers ... Other human rights problems reported included abuses of detainees; overcrowding in prisons and detention centers; investigating, detaining, prosecuting, and sentencing lawyers, human rights activists, and antigovernment reformists; holding political prisoners; denial of due process; arbitrary arrest and detention; and arbitrary interference with privacy, home, and correspondence. Violence against women, trafficking in persons, and discrimination based on gender, religion, sect, race, and ethnicity were common.

If we know the nature of Saudi Arabia's human rights problems and we know that the country is executing activists, artists, children, political opponents, women, and others, shouldn't the White House do something about it? I would posit that it should.

If history is any indication, oppressive governments around the world have a finite existence. You can't keep all the people down all the time. A country ruled with an iron fist by 15,000 cousins cannot be a model of stability. With a hostile Iran to the east, Shia Iraq to the north, Israel to the northwest, and a hostile and war-torn Yemen to the south, the Saudis ought to be thinking of ways to improve their internal stability and attract international support, beginning with a policy of improving human rights and civil liberties.

Washington apparently doesn't have the stomach or political foresight to push them in that direction. Both the White House and the State Department have just pretended that no problems exist. It's up to the Saudis to turn the ship around before it's too late. If they fail to do that, it could be royal heads that end up on the chopping block.



John Kiriakou is an Associate Fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. He is a former CIA counterterrorism operations officer and former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+27 # danireland46 2015-12-11 14:54
"Faisal Trad, Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Geneva, has been elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts. (photo: UN)"
The Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Nations has been chair for three months?? WTF How hypocritical is this?
 
 
+37 # Farafalla 2015-12-11 16:42
The worst hypocrisy was censoring the 28 pages of the 9-11 Commission report that showed the extent of Saudi complicity in 9-11. Thanks to the darkness of that move, we invaded Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9-11. Release the 28 pages and see a real game changer. It would be hard for politicians to defend the Saudis if we only knew the half of it.
 
 
+11 # Kiwikid 2015-12-11 17:33
Yep, The fox is now officially in charge of the hen house. And I feel sure that the Saudis will believe their human rights record is a good one - given the wahabbist doctrine that drives their world view. All is as it should be - the hens deserve no better.
 
 
+3 # harleysch 2015-12-12 16:25
Do you remember the disgusting spectacle of President Obama cutting short his state visit to India, to rush to Saudi Arabia for the coronation of King Salman? And before leaving India, Obama lectured the Indians on their poor record of respect for women's rights. Yet he said not a word about the Saudi treatment of women, which is barbaric.

Why does Obama continue the Bush cover-up of the 28 pages? Why does he not speak out about Saudi human rights' abuses? The answer is simple: the international financiers who control Obama, control Saudi Arabia. It is not surprising that Obama and the Saudis share the commitment to remove Assad -- who protects minorities in Syria, including Christians, Jews and women -- even if it means putting into power the barbarians of ISIL.
 
 
+40 # angelfish 2015-12-11 15:12
The World has gone Mad and the United Nations is NO exception. Having a country that still beheads dissidents, as well as tortures and maims ad lib as Chair of the U.N. Human Rights Council is beyond ludicrous, it's INSANE! Nazis are taking over the American Political scene with "Know NOTHING" Candidates given credence by the American Media and even encouraged by some of the Loonier ones! God help and save us ALL from repeating the Madness of the last Century!
 
 
+38 # Susansis 2015-12-11 15:15
The death penalty for apostasy? CRUCIFICTION? 350 lashes for a bottle of wine? WTF? These medievalists wouldn't know a human right, such as the right to think freely, if it smacked them over the head with a ball peen hammer. They have no right to lead the world on this important issue! They should be censored, not supported.
 
 
+15 # dsepeczi 2015-12-11 15:49
Quoting Susansis:
The death penalty for apostasy? CRUCIFICTION? 350 lashes for a bottle of wine? WTF? These medievalists wouldn't know a human right, such as the right to think freely, if it smacked them over the head with a ball peen hammer. They have no right to lead the world on this important issue! They should be censored, not supported.


Largely, I think the election of Saudi Arabia's ambassador was intended to send a message ... "Citizens of the World, the UN will not protect you. So, if a larger, more powerful entity than you or your group demands something of you .... don't bank on the world coming to your defense .... you damn well better comply with their orders or face the consequences !"
 
 
+10 # Misterioso 2015-12-11 15:52
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=15273

Oil-Gushing Saudi Arabia Major Obstacle at COP21

EXCERPT - TRANSCRIPT FROM AUDIO:

"... [in] every significant respect the Saudis are proving to be a major obstacle. When it comes to the temperature limit, they're opposed to a 1.5 degree temperature limit. When it comes to, you know, the pace with which we are to decarbonize our economies, they are militating for a longer time frame, which could be potentially catastrophic. When it comes to the inclusion of human rights in the operational part of the agreement, they're opposed. When it comes to, you know, recognition of [inaud.]."

"So--and one wonders, really, to what extent some major powers in the West, particularly the United States, are content to see the Saudis play the role of the spoiler and take the heat. I mean, no one is going to at the end of the day be impressed by the Saudis' human rights record. They really don't have much to lose in terms of a reputation in that regard. So perhaps the United States is quite content, U.S. government, to see them take that lead."
 
 
+3 # Douglas Jack 2015-12-11 15:59
1984 Quotes, George Orwell, Media calls us to 'hates' against its chosen enemies, Putin, alAssad, Gaddafi etc. Call to despair against the UN is part of its planned hate scheme against all things government.

“Inner Party Speaker: They have attacked an unarmed village with rocket bombs & murdered 4,000 defenseless, innocent & peaceful citizens of Oceania. This is no longer war. This is cold-blooded murder. Until now, the war has been conducted with honor & bravery with the ideals of truth & justice in the best traditions of mankind... until this moment. Brothers & sisters, the endless catalog of beastie atrocities which will inevitably ensue from this appalling act must, can, & will be terminated. The forces of darkness & treasonable maggots who collaborate with them must, can, & will be wiped from the face of the Earth. We must crush them! We must smash them! We must stamp them out! We the people of Oceania & our traditional allies, the people of Eurasia, will not rest until a final victory has been achieved. Death of the eternal enemy of Oceania. Death! Death! DEATH! [the people in Victory Square cheer]
Inner Party Speaker: Brothers & sisters, one week from now in this very square we shall, as a demonstration of our resolve & show of strength, publicly hang, draw & quarter a similar number of Eastasia prisoners!”

The way out of 'hates' is to understand humanity's 'indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatio n') https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/home/2-mutual-aid
 
 
+14 # Elroys 2015-12-11 16:46
So, what else is new? The U.S. supporting, befriending and complimenting such insane and corrupt "governments"? The system - virtually world-wide -is so corrupt at so many levels that it's actually hard to imagine how our species will survive much longer - 50, 100 years, maybe. Maybe not. May the children and grandchildren in Saudi Arabia and the United States haunt these corrupt "leaders" forever. The future? What future.
 
 
+12 # GDW 2015-12-11 17:03
Sad day for the UN and human rights. The UN could do such good if it followed it's charter and the US and other countries obstruction. To recognize world laws and people's human rights.
 
 
+9 # tm7devils 2015-12-11 17:10
Since WWII the US Gov has lived up to, and earned, the title of "The Great Satan"...and it's becoming more obvious with each passing day...and "We, the People" are who let it happen.
If you utter the Pledge of Allegiance or sing The Star Spangled Banner, you fall into one of the following classes: you are a member of the government; you are ignorant as a nematode; or, a member of the ruling class of elitist owners of the US.
It's the 'ignorant class' and their pernicious "belief" that our gov is good and great(and god will save us) - that will be the deciding factor of our destruction - no matter the facts to the contrary.
IMO, the die is cast and we are beyond the point of no return.
 
 
+8 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-12-11 18:17
WAKE UP AMERICA. A huge military build up, more than "daily" mass shootings = a sign of a declining empire
 
 
+1 # Shades of gray matter 2015-12-11 23:41
Since the Saudis cannot drink the oil we keep them in charge of, and since we could easily keep them from exporting 99% of that oil, what gives them their incredible leverage? Is it a combination of their Trillion$ and a willingness to finance groups we want on the control dole? ISIS? Very deep and complex relationship. CIA is Big Oil's ENFORCER. I think there is a Saudi, British, Big Oil, U.S. Axis, with Israel trying to join. If Israel looses support in U.S., Saudis will finance their demise.
 
 
+5 # David Starr 2015-12-12 12:22
The Saudi family, and its version of Islam, has to be toppled.
 
 
+1 # maverita 2015-12-13 02:55
they are squeezing our oil industry into another bunch of layoffs and shut downs. they may inadvertently aid the cause by frustrating us into developing alternative energies.
 
 
0 # Salburger 2015-12-14 03:16
Finally a mainstream Leftist outlet has taken note of this. Now that the real nature of the HRC has been pointed out from the left will "leftists" stop taking the HRC attacks on Israel at face value?
 

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