June 9, 2015
A place where bloggers are imprisoned indefinitely, people get their hands chopped off for disobeying the state religion, and women are not allowed to drive, is probably one of the worst possible locations on earth for a conference of this nature. However, freedom is clearly not a concept that the United Nations understands very well, so this should not come as too much of a surprise.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group, seems to believe that the country’s oil wealth is the reason that they are in the good graces of the UN and the western allied nations.
“It’s time for the politics of oil to stop trumping the basic principles of human rights. It’s bad enough that the oppressive and fundamentalist Saudi monarchy was elected to sit on the UN Human Rights Council. But for top UN human rights officials to now visit Jeddah and smile while human rights activist Raif Badawi languishes in prison for the crime of religious dissent, still under threat of further flogging, is to pour salt in the wounds. It’s astonishing,” Neuer told the Canada Free Press.
According to the Saudi Gazette, the conference “began with an agreement to put [HRC] resolution 16/18 into effect.” Resolution 16/18, also known as the Istanbul Agreement, is a measure that is said to put an end to “intolerance and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” However, many activists see this agreement as an empty promise, especially in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Gazette also reported that the previous conferences to promote resolution 16/18 were held in Washington, London, Geneva and Doha, with the next meeting in Chile in 2016.
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John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work, he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.
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