Don’t forget Article 5

Well naturally.

I’m doing a little research preparatory to writing a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the US calling on his government to release Raif Badawi from prison and the other penalties, so I needed to find out if it has signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Why? Because I wanted to point out Article 19 and Article 5, but only if SA had in fact signed, because if it hadn’t, there wouldn’t be any point in underlining the gaps between Articles 5 and 19 and the grotesque sentence passed on Raif Badawi.)

Never mind signing it, Saudi didn’t even agree to adopting it.

On 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 48 in favor, none against, and eight abstentions (the Soviet Union, Ukrainian SSR, Byelorussian SSR, People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, People’s Republic of Poland, Union of South Africa, Czechoslovakia, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).[13][14] Honduras and Yemen—both members of UN at the time—failed to vote or abstain.[15] South Africa’s position can be seen as an attempt to protect its system of apartheid, which clearly violated any number of articles in the Declaration.[13] The Saudi Arabian delegation’s abstention was prompted primarily by two of the Declaration’s articles: Article 18, which states that everyone has the right “to change his religion or belief”; and Article 16, on equal marriage rights.[13]

Oh? Just those? What about Article 5?

Article 5.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

I’d call ONE THOUSAND LASHES cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.


  1. Jean says

    How come a country that hasn’t signed the declaration can be a member of the council? Shouldn’t it be the minimum requirement? I guess that as long as you have oil and support from the US (which are not unrelated aspects), you can do whatever you want.

  2. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    As S.A. privileges a religion that promises sinners of assorted varieties an eternity of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment, 1000 lashes probably looks pretty mild by their standards.

  3. James Howde says

    I’m quite prepared to believe that it really was Article 18 that stopped Saudi Arabia signing up. It’s very clear whereas, using the International Book of Torture Euphemisms, it’s possible to sign up to Article 5 and then merrily continue to do things that look very much like torture to the uninformed observer but apparently are totally legit interrogation techniques.

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