So now the floggers and decapitators will lead a UN panel on human rights! Did Saudi Arabia lobby for the post by oiling the UN selection panel’s hands, or is the UN expecting Saudi Arabia to mend its ways because it now has a huge responsibility on its shoulders?
It’s like we say in India, “ladke ki shaadi kara do, sudhar jaayega! (Get the boy married, he will become responsible), which is such an absurd philosophy! But what else could be the reason behind such mindless appointment, especially by a body which embodies peace and equality?
It’s preposterous to see a country infamous for violating the rights of its citizens lead a panel created to ensure the existence of the same. But will the Kingdom, with one of the worst human rights record on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents, lead by example? The traditional mindset is too deep-rooted to allow any real social change.
Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger, Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1000 lashes for blogging about free speech, say that the appointment is scandalous and means that “oil trumps human rights”.
In the first half of 2015, Saudi Arabia beheaded more than 100 people. The country is known for using bodily punishments, which include decapitations, whippings and mutilations. Only Iran, with almost 300 executions in 2014, killed more people as form of punishment.
Faisal bin Hassan Trad, the Saudi ambassador to the UN, couldn’t stop smiling for the lenses. Perhaps, he sees the joke there. He has been elected as Chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.
In a normal world, Saudi Arabia would be prosecuted for its dreadful human rights record, not appointed as head of an international human rights monitor!
The more I think of it, the more I am convinced. The UN may be experimenting with the ideology of making the spoilt brat of the class as a monitor. Pour all the responsibilities on an irresponsible guy and he will come out as a more conscientious person.
Similarly, the hope could be that when the whole world looks at Saudi Arabia, they might work ethically, and in the process of trying to be more responsible, they might even genuinely reform themselves!
The United Nations was formed for ensuring peace and equal rights to one and all. The Human Rights Council has for long been the subject of criticism for granting membership to countries with dubious human rights records.
There are protests at Saudi embassies across the world, highlighting the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to a thousand lashes – fifty lashes a week after Friday prayers – and ten years in prison for blogging about free speech.
Since March, Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen, destroying schools, hospitals, homes, a hotel, public buildings, which may have amounted to war crimes.
If the UN is experimenting, it is fraught with danger, it could backfire. A position of strength induces autocratic behaviour, which comes naturally to the Arabs.