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Tue 22 Sep 2015 09:58 AM

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UN criticised for appointing Saudi to head human rights body

Critics pointed to the kingdom's poor human rights record

UN criticised for appointing Saudi to head human rights body

The United Nations has been criticised after Saudi Arabia was appointed to head up one of its human rights bodies.

Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, has been appointed as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

The appointment was made in June but only came to light this week, the Independent newspaper reported.

The move has been criticised, with many pointing to the kingdom's poor human rights records.

"Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent watchdog.

“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," Neuer added.

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