A Scottish National Party MP has written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging the UK government to push for the removal of Saudi Arabia as chair of a key UN human rights panel.
The call from Stewart McDonald MP follows stinging criticism of the UN, UK and Scottish governments by leading human rights campaigners over the controversial appointment of Faisal bin Hassan Trad, whose country has one of the worse human rights records in the world.
The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva became the Chair of the Five-Member Consultative Group of the UN Council for Human Rights two days ago and has been outspoken against LGBTI rights – despite the country’s sustained record of human rights abuses.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald MP said: “Many people around the world are rightly concerned about the grave and systematic abuses of human rights in Saudi Arabia.
“The notion that an administration that is itself responsible for such human rights abuses should now be put in charge of overseeing and protecting human rights worldwide is both absurd and deeply concerning.
“Given Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, the Kingdom should never have been eligible for a place on the UN HRC, let alone gifted this incredibly important and influential position.
“Far from directing the appointment of Special Rapporteurs and other high profile UN human rights positions, Saudi Arabia should itself be subject to an investigation by the UN for its human rights record.
“There are important questions to be answered about how this appointment came to be made in the first place, and whether the UK had any role in supporting the appointment, but most urgently the UK government must now use the full resources of the UK delegation to the UN to call for Mr Trad to be removed from his position and to urgently seek a more appropriate appointment so that the UN Council for Human Rights can command the confidence of other member states and the public.”
On Monday KaleidoScot requested comments from Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development in the Scottish Government, who publicly says he supports LGBTI rights internationally, but so far it has not received any response, aside from him stating on twitter that “he hasn’t seen the email” and that he “previously” made his views regarding Saudi Arabia known.