Saudi Arabia has no credibility as a member of the UN Human Rights Council

Let me say first that I could never be a diplomat; the slow-motion courtesies of this meeting would drive me mad. I’d also be enraged by the presence of people who simply don’t belong there. In this short segment of a meeting, a member tries to read a statement pointing out that the treatment of Raif Badawi, the Saudi citizen who has been jailed and sentenced to flogging for being an atheist, is barbaric and inhumane…and the Saudi representative interrupts three times to basically tell them to shut up.

They don’t belong there.

Unfortunately, one could reasonably argue that the United States, as one of the greatest world-wide violators of human rights, doesn’t belong there either.


  1. A Masked Avenger says

    I would pay money to see the same group bring up Gitmo in the same speech, just to enjoy the sight of the US delegate reversing gears and raising repeated “points of order.”

  2. Gerard O says

    The Al-Qaeda speaker who was going to give a speech defending ‘honour’ killings at Sydney’s ‘Festival of Dangerous Ideas’ has just had his talk cancelled (I posted a link at Thunderdome a few hours ago) — one small victory over Islamofascism. Also, Saudis suck.

  3. plainenglish says

    Point of order, madame speaker…. Bringing up specific cases of international crimes related to human rights is an integral part of these matters, specifically Section Blah, Subsection Blah-blah et al. I respectfully request that md @ 2. allow the presentation to continue with of course the right to interject every few minutes… I see Canada? Canada has the floor.
    “Uh, thank-you madame speaker. Uh, uh, I’m wit you fellers!.” (diplomat hand-picked by PM Harper.)
    The UN is crock, the slow-cooker, words going in and being turned to mush over many many hours.

  4. hillaryrettig says

    I like the part where PZ surprises us all by saying he could never be a diplomat. :-)

  5. corwyn says

    The important part of a human rights council is NOT to find a dozen completely virtuous people or governments to dictate to everyone else how they should behave. The important part is actually affect behavior, that requires having representatives of the worst offenders present. If the US wasn’t included do you think the US would pay the slightest attention to the edicts they make?

  6. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    md: I missed that subtlety at first. I had a post ready to rebut and everything.

  7. numerobis says

    I wonder what countries *could* be on the human rights commission, if violating rights disbars you.

  8. anteprepro says


    I wonder what countries *could* be on the human rights commission, if violating rights disbars you.

    Principality of Sealand (?)

  9. richcon says

    @1: the US delegate would have no issue letting them finish their statement uninterrupted.

  10. moarscienceplz says

    Actually, I found this smirk-inducing. Not only did several of the most powerful countries of the world tell the Saudis to STFU, the Saudis then exposed themselves to the world as temper-throwing toddlers with that asinine comment about getting 160 votes to join the council.
    I hope more of this stuff happens. At some point the Saudis will have to either walk out, or they will have to accept that their actions make them appear as medieval savages to much of the world.

  11. shoeguy says

    Saudi Arabia is a country I could get behind invading. They continue to be the #1 source of terrorist funding and the heart of the practice of slavery in the 21st century. Give the country to Egypt so all that oil wealth can go to making the lives of some poor Moslems a bit better.

  12. grumpypathdoc says

    The only way to throttle the “Kingdom” is to eliminate the need for their major export and money maker-oil. As long as there is a demand for petroleum and by-products, they will continue to be too rich to heed the call to STFU.

  13. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says


    Fuck that. Invasions are expensive and bloody. Just boycott their oil supplies and impose and enforce full trade sanctions. No reason to kill people (who probably don’t matter politically to their leadership) when you can twist the screws on the wallets of the people who DO matter to leadership

  14. says


    If the US wasn’t included do you think the US would pay the slightest attention to the edicts they make?

    Since when does the US pay the faintest attention to those as things stand?

  15. unclefrogy says

    The thing to remember about any country whose main or only source of wealth and power is something like oil is that it is limited and will eventually be exhausted. The Saudis have been pumping oil for some time and the estimates of how much is left are closely guarded.. At the rate that oil is exploited world wide there is some disagreement on just how long we an continue at this level let alone keep up with the increasing world wide demand even if there were no environmental consequences.
    The Saudis make a good example of the reasons countries which base their governments on medieval hereditary kingship are a terrible form of government for human rights and the dignity of all humanity.
    uncle frogy

  16. madscientist says

    It provides great comedy. :)

    A few months ago Saudi Arabia censured Norway for its nasty treatment of muslims (a claim based entirely on fiction). As one Norwegian diplomat put it, it may seem strange that Saudi Arabia gets a chance to lecture Norway about human rights but that’s the politics of the UN.

  17. ck says

    The UN Human Rights council seems to be just a forum for censuring Israel and insisting that defamation of religion was an abuse of human rights. The U.S. takes an unconditional pro-Israel stance since joining, but that isn’t any better than the various Muslim nations’ unconditional anti-Israel stance.

    Frankly, a human rights organization that only seems to care about exactly two issues isn’t worth the office space or the oxygen consumed by its members. Amnesty International, despite its faults, does a much better job than this UN council.

  18. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @Shoeguy #13:

    Saudi Arabia is a country I could get behind invading.

    Considering the importance of Mecca and Medina to Muslims, an invasion would be insane. There was considerable anger over just the presence of western troops there during the 1990s–and they were originally there at the request of Saudi Arabia’s king–so I’d imagine that an invasion, especially from the U.S., would at best be catastrophic.

  19. samgardner says

    Kimpatsu, that video looks a lot more like the Japanese ambassador was telling them to shut up when they were laughing during his presentation. Essentially, they were interrupting him, not the other way around. While “shut up” was the wrong way to handle it, a “I believe I have the floor, and would appreciate silence from other delegates during my presentation” would have been fine.

  20. says

    In the first point of order the guy from Saudi Arabia actually asked the Council to “silence her” and he did not actually say “Stop their intervention”, clearly the translator toned things done a bit.