Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN chosen to head key UN human rights panel. The country has arguably the worst record in the world on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.
Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech said on Facebook the UN was effectively “a green light to start flogging [him] again”.
As chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council Faisal bin Hassan Trad was given the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights. Such experts are often described as the ‘crown jewels’ of the HRC, according to UN Watch.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said the appointment was “scandalous” and went on to say “It’s a sad comment on our world that oil continues to trump basic human rights principles. It’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia is a member of the council, but for the UN to go and name the regime as chair of a key panel only pours salt in the wounds for dissidents languishing in Saudi prisons.”