Saudi Arabia deserves our scorn

Saudi Arabia commits rampant injustice despite an appointment to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Jasper Johnson

Much to the dismay of human rights experts, Saudi Arabia was recently named head of a United Nations Human Rights Council panel. I can’t stress the absurdity of Saudi Arabia holding this position strongly enough. The country has one of the worst human rights records of any stable state. To be blunt, I feel Saudi Arabia is one of the most contemptible nations in existence. 
 
I’d like to level a laundry list of charges against Saudi Arabia, and I think international organizations and courts should do the same. 
 
First, the country overtly discriminates against women. This is the first year women will be able to vote — but even then, only at the municipal level. Moreover, as of late August, only 16 women had registered to vote. 
 
Second, religious freedoms and freedom of expression are nonexistent in Saudi Arabia. The country punishes apostasy with death. For example, Raif Badawi, a secular Saudi blogger, was arrested and nearly put to death for blogging about free speech. The Saudi are currently torturing him with public lashings. In general, the country’s trials are shoddy, and its executions are brutal. They often involve beheadings or crucifixions and displaying the corpses in public.
 
Saudi government officials shouldn’t have a prominent role in monitoring human rights abuses, and it is an embarrassment that the U.N. thinks it is appropriate to make the country head of a Human Rights Council panel. If anything, Saudi officials should be sitting in a prison cell after being tried for human rights abuses.