The appointment of a key human rights role to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN has been described as “scandalous” given the country’s “worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.
The role appointed to Faisal Bin Hassan Trad by a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council, will give him the power to select applicants for a range of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.
Trad’s election has been criticised by Ensaf Haidar, wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi, who said it would be “a green light to start flogging [him] again”.
Raif was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech and “insulting Islam”. Hillel Neuer of UN Watch said the appointment may have been a consolation for Saudi after withdrawing their bid to head the 47-nation council after much condemnation of their human rights record.
The Human Rights Council has often been at the centre of much criticism for granting membership to countries with known human rights abuses such as that of current members Venezuela, Russia and Qatar.