Citizen Action Monitor

Saudis need not worry – “no state has the moral authority or will to attack this butchery”, and…

…that includes Canada, the whole of the EU, and the US, all fawning recipients of Saudi largesse.

No 1558 Posted by fw, January 5, 2016

“There is, however, one little step that those who protest and roar and rage over the latest Saudi butchery might contemplate, if they can calm down enough to concentrate on the small print. For the resolution which established the United Nations Human Rights Council – upon which the Saudis are proud to sit – says that ‘members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights’. Even more to the point, the UN General Assembly, which elects those members who occupy the Council’s 47 seats, is empowered – with a two-thirds majority – to suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member which has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights while a member of the Council…. But here’s the snag. Quite apart from the fawning Western leaders who would object [are there enough other GA members who don’t have blood on their hands?”]Robert Fisk, Independent

There is a SEE ALSO reference at the end of this post linking to a story about UK PM David Cameron under pressure to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia as he maintains his “shameful” silence over the mass executions.

Is it not past time for Canadian MPs, mainstream media, or other reputable figures to exert pressure on PM Trudeau to do likewise? But will they? Surely Canada has notable public figures with the moral authority to speak up? Stephen Lewis and Ed Broadbent come to mind.

Below is a repost of this story with added subheadings. Or lick on the following linked title to read the original article.

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Saudi Arabia has little to worry about – no state has the moral authority or will to attack this butchery by Robert Fisk, Independent, January 3, 2016

We have to remember that on the UN Council we can find such vigorous defenders of human rights as China and Russia

The Saudi appointment to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013 is grotesque in light of the recent executions

When Saudi Arabia was elected to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013 – with Dave Cameron’s help – we all regarded it as farce. Now, only hours after the Sunni Muslim Saudis chopped off the heads of 47 of their enemies – including a prominent Shia Muslim cleric – the Saudi appointment is grotesque. Of course, the world of human rights is appalled – and Shia Iran is talking of the “divine punishment” that will destroy the House of Saud. Crowds attack the Saudi embassy in Tehran. So what’s new?

“Divine” and secular punishment have been variously sought against Middle East leaders for centuries, most recently against Bashar al-Assad of Syria who, according to the French Foreign Minister, did not “deserve to live on this planet”.

All the shouting and screaming doesn’t stop the oil flowing from Saudi wells or the kingdom’s friends from using weasel language to excuse their outrages

The Saudis were long ago telling the Americans to “cut off the head of the serpent” – Iran’s head, needless to say – but they have obviously settled for the head of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, at least for now. But all the shouting and screaming doesn’t stop the oil flowing from Saudi wells – nor the kingdom’s friends from using the usual weasel language to excuse their outrages.

The executions are an “internal matter”, a “retrograde step” perhaps, and certainly the executions were “events that don’t help” peace in the Middle East. All of this classic verbiage, I should add, from Crispin Blunt, the Tory chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, came within hours of the mass head-chopping.

He also told Channel 4 that “we’ve got to judge when it’s right to engage” with the Saudis on such “matters”. You bet we have. “Never” would be my guess. After all, you can’t fly your flags at half mast when the last King of Saudi Arabia dies a natural death, and then get all antsy when the Saudis start slashing at the necks of their enemies.

There is a provision to suspend Saudi Arabia from the UN HR Council, but there’s a snag…

There is, however, one little step that those who protest and roar and rage over the latest Saudi butchery might contemplate, if they can calm down enough to concentrate on the small print. For the resolution which established the United Nations Human Rights Council – upon which the Saudis are proud to sit – says that “members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.

Even more to the point, the UN General Assembly, which elects those members who occupy the Council’s 47 seats, is empowered – with a two-thirds majority – to suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member which has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights while a member of the Council.

Here’s the snag — where to find voting members with the moral authority to do the deed

But here’s the snag. Quite apart from the fawning Western leaders who would object to such a slur being uttered against Saudi Arabia – Dave, obviously, along with his counterparts in France, Germany, Italy, indeed the whole EU and the US (of course) and any recipient of Saudi largesse – we’d have to witness the absurd vote of Iran against Saudi Arabia. Iran, you see, has hanged an estimated 570 prisoners – 10 of them women – in the first half of 2015 alone. That’s about two lynchings a day – of “criminals” and “enemies of God” – and far outdoes the poor old Saudis who were, scarcely two years ago, advertising for more official executioners. In March, six Sunnis were put to death in Iran in a mass hanging.

The US has a record of 28 executions in 2015, not counting drone attacks, “targeted killings” and other extrajudicial murders

In other words, he who casts the first stone – this would be literal if the Taliban were still in power in Afghanistan (though they may yet return) – had better look at his own track record. And quite apart from the US (28 executions in 2015, not counting drone attacks, “targeted killings” and other extrajudicial murders), we have to remember that on the UN Council we can find such vigorous defenders of human rights as China and Russia.

So the Saudis have little to worry about from the UN. Or from the US or the EU or Dave. Until the revolution.

Robert Fisk is an English writer and journalist, Middle East correspondent of The Independent, and holds more British and international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent.

SEE ALSO

David Cameron urged to reassess UK ties with Saudi Arabia as he maintains ‘shameful’ silence over executions by Chris Green et al., Independent, January 3, 3016 — David Cameron has been urged to end his “shameful” silence over the mass execution of 47 prisoners by Saudi Arabia and order a permanent reassessment of the UK’s close relationship with the Gulf kingdom, amid fears that the killings could spark a wider conflict which will threaten the West…. Labour and the SNP have also called on the Government to review its relationship with Saudi Arabia, raising a series of concerns about the UK’s continued arms sales to the kingdom…

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