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Saudi Arabia Hosts Human Rights Summit (I swear I'm not making this up)


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The decision to hold a UN-backed human rights summit in Saudi Arabia in early June, attended by the Human Rights Council’s chief, has sparked an outcry from rights organizations, claiming that the visit gave the Gulf kingdom “false legitimacy.”

The main point of the international summit held in Jeddah June 3-4 was declared to be combating intolerance and violence based on religious belief.

The conference was attended by the Human Right Council president Joachim Rücker, who said in the opening statement that “Religious intolerance and violence committed in the name of religion rank among the most significant human rights challenges of our times.”

Later, Rücker was accused by the Geneva-based human rights campaign group UN Watch of giving the summit “false international legitimacy.”

“It’s bad enough that the oppressive and fundamentalist Saudi monarchy was elected to sit on the UN Human Rights Council,” The Independent cited UN Watch executive director, Hillel Neuer, as saying.

Saudi Arabia is one of the few absolute monarchies left in the world. There is no legal code in the country, leaving it to individual judges to set the punishment for a crime in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic doctrine.

The death penalty is stipulated for a number of crimes, including murder, blasphemy, denial of Islamic faith, treason, sorcery, drug smuggling and acts of homosexuality. Adultery is punished with 100 lashes, the penalty for stealing is the amputation of a hand, while drinking alcohol and slander are punished at discretion of the judge.

The Gulf monarchy is the world’s only country where women are not allowed to drive.

Human rights activists have also pointed out that the conference took place at a time when the Saudi Arabian Supreme Court had upheld the sentence for blogger Raif Badawi, condemning him to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels.”

Neuer said: “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.”

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Return of the religious police worries reformers in Saudi Arabia As King Salman takes command, Saudi Arabia's creeping reforms appear to reverse

By Richard Spencer, Riyadh

6:00AM GMT 19 Feb 2015

The violation of modesty might seem technical, but this was Saudi Arabia, and the religious police were having none of it.

They swept through Riyadh's Marina Mall, going through shops with names like "Princesses' Island" and "My Scarf" which specialise in abayas, the all-enveloping, shapeless gown that Saudi women must by law wear in public, and tore down any that weren't black.

Black is the colour stipulated for abayas, but as Saudi society has become more cosmopolitan, women have begun to experiment.

First dark patterns emerged, then a few diamante adornments, then the occasional striped sleeve; finally - the step the religious police thought was taking it too far - abayas of whole different colours, like brown, and dark blue.

The cloaks still hid every vestige of a woman's anatomy: only not in the same monotone.

"It was very annoying," said one shop assistant, who requested that he not be identified to prevent further raids. "They did cause a big problem. However, it is the law I suppose, so we just have to put up with it."

The attack on the Mall was not, women's rights and other activists say, a one-off. It happened shortly after the death of 90-year-old King Abdullah at the end of January, and may have been a sign that the once-feared religious police which he spent years trying to rein in felt they were now in the ascendant again.

And that may be a token of a wider shift, one which has profound, so far little-noticed implications for Britain's controversial relationship with the kingdom - on display last week with the warm welcome it gave to the Prince of Wales - and to the ever-troubled politics of the Middle East.


I wonder what the Muttawa have to say about human rights

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It's like an alcoholic hosting an AA meeting.

Well...what's wrong with that? They tend to be the ones that go to AA meetings. ;)

But I get what you were trying to say.

As far as Saudi Arabia:

  • Saudis are increasingly and openly discussing government affairs on Twitter and Facebook-a ban on women driving, arbitrary detention of peaceful dissidents and terror suspects, and corruption, among others-but the government in 2011 banned public protests, tightened press laws, and arrested scores of peaceful rights advocates and protesters. Saudi Arabia struggles with a poorly defined and nontransparent justice system based on religion that metes out draconian sentences. Women and minority Shia citizens face systematic discrimination. Immigration and labor restrictions on migrant workers facilitate widespread abuse. Western countries remained largely silent about poor rights conditions in the kingdom.


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The Muslim country Saudi Arabia could certainly teach us all about human rights, especially for gays. Every time I see one of those crazy ???? Christians oppressively talking about their subjective beliefs in Canada or the US, I can be reminded there's always Saudi Arabia to show us how to really do things.

Anyways, the real experience at the event will be the exquisite menu at the summit. Right below the "non-Alcoholic Heineken" they'll be offering complimentary female circumcisions.

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The Muslim country Saudi Arabia could certainly teach us all about human rights, especially for gays. Every time I see one of those crazy ???? Christians oppressively talking about their subjective beliefs in Canada or the US, I can be reminded there's always Saudi Arabia to show us how to really do things.

Can I ask what you mean by subjective?

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Can I ask what you mean by subjective?

subjective. existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective )

In regards to Christian subjective beliefs, although I will have take the Mr Ambien's words literally, I would say he is referring to the fact there is no factual evidence of a God or Gods. By definition, that makes the belief structure in Christianity subjective. That's not to say there is no objective belief in religion. Some of the history is proven as factual.

My subjective belief is that Saudi Arabia is country of chauvinistic, West hating, Ferrari driving Shieks who have half-naked women feed them grapes while lying on a pile of silk blankets.

My objective belief is that Saudi Arabia has committed far too many documented human rights abuses to host this event.

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