Showing posts with label UN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UN. Show all posts

Monday, 28 September 2015

Saudi Foreign Minister: We Have Right Not to Follow Any (LGBT Rights) Agenda That Runs "Counter to Islamic Law"

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir
Well now that the UN has elected Saudi ambassador Faisal Trad to chair the UN Human Rights Council panel, they had better get right on the terrible human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and perhaps speak up against Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel Al-Jubeir:
Saudi Arabia has protested any references to homosexuality in a new UN development program, saying it is "counter to Islamic law." Punishments for those engaging in same-sex relationships in the absolute monarchy are brutal, such as being stoned to death.
Trends

The protest was made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who told the UN General Assembly that "mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman,” AP reported.

He stated that Saudi Arabia had the right not to follow any agenda that runs "counter to Islamic law."
Well there you go. I wonder what Faisal Trad's panel's recommendations could be regarding the situation in Saudi Arabia and their obvious lack of any respect whatsoever for basic human rights or international law?

Well, I'm certain this will all play out perfectly fine.

(Image source)

Friday, 25 September 2015

AJ+ Releases Great Video About Saudi Arabia Heading UN Human Rights Panel



Here's a great video by Al Jazeera (AJ+) that sums up who stands to lose now that Saudi Arabia is heading the UN Human Rights Panel. Remember you can sign a petition against this here.

Saudi Arabia to Head UN Human-Rights Panel
Saudi Arabia has been picked to head a UN human-rights panel. Perhaps these people would disagree with that choice.
Posted by AJ+ on Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Sign This Petition to Get Saudi Arabia Off UN Human Rights Council


My post yesterday about Saudi Arabia being appointed a key role within the UN Human Rights Council was mainly a vent. It didn't have anything you could actually do about this situation.

Well, I still don't have much, but I do have this petition to remove Saudi Arabia from the panel altogether.

It was started just two days ago and has already amassed over 11,000 signatures.

(Image source)

Monday, 21 September 2015

UN Human Rights Council Shamefully Sells Out

Ensaf Haidar and UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in Sherbooke, QC.
Remember when I felt ill because the UN was totally cool with Saudi Arabia hosting that human rights summit for the UN Human Rights Council over the summer? Well, it turns out that they've given the panel over to the Saudis. I wonder how much that cost this country, with some of the most epic human rights violations in the world?
The United Nations is coming under fire for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role even though the Kingdom has “arguably the worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1000 lashes for blogging about free speech – say that the appointment is “scandalous” and means that “oil trumps human rights”.

Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who is leading an international campaign to free her husband, said on Facebook that handing the role to Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was effectively “a green light to start flogging [him] again”.
This just literally makes me want to puke. Here's an example of how things may go with the Saudis in charge.


It really does make me lose all faith in the UN and their so-called mandate to protect human rights. It really does seem like they are weak willed and pathetic on this front.
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said that the appointment, made in June but unreported until now, may have been a consolation prize for the Saudis after they withdrew their bid to head the 47-nation council following international condemnation of the kingdom’s human rights record.

The Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a “macabre spike” in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.
We really need to get off oil. Until this happens, you can expect more farcical displays of spinelessness like this one.

The UN is no friend of human rights nor secularists like the jailed Raif Badawi, who's wife, Ensaf Haidar, posted:

The International Community Give A Saudi Green Light To Start flogging #RaifBadawi again
Posted by Raif Badawi on Sunday, 20 September 2015
It really looks like we can no longer take the UNHRC seriously. Perhaps we could hold a fundraiser and buy them back somehow?

Read more about this over at the UN Watch blog.

(Image source)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Canada's Christine Shellska Addresses UN Commission On Behalf of AAI


Back in August, I wrote a short post about how cool it is that the new Atheist Alliance International president is Calgary's Christine Shellska. Totally cool.

Here's a video of Christine appearing before the United Nations Commission for Social Development in New York City back on February 10th. I just heard about it recently on the Legion of Reason podcast and thought I would share.


She touches on subjects like accessible healthcare, secularism and separation of church and state and removing all blasphemy laws across the world.

Excellent representation of atheists! Great that she's a Canadian too!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Saudi Arabia Attempts to Silence CFI At UN Human Rights Council


Guess what happened when Center for Inquiry representative Josephine Macintosh tried to read a short statement condemning human rights violations in Saudi Arabia at the UN Human Rights Council?

They interrupted three times with lamer and lamer objections.

She was demanding the repeal of their draconian blasphemy laws and the immediate and unconditional release of blogger Raif Badawi. More on recent developments with Badawi here in Canada here, here and here.

They interrupted with sort of ironic objections -- something about the CFI's statement didn't relate to the topic at hand... or something. Which is odd because it was a Meeting on Human Rights Violations! It was apparent to the US, Canada and France -- along with most in the room, that the irony was thick when Saudi Arabia wouldn't even give Macintosh her freedom of speech. Class act. Real class act.

I guess that's what you'd expect from a country that still has witch hunts on Twitter and has made the colour red illegal on Valentines Day.

Kudos for the CFI for standing up for Raif Badawi, religious expression, atheist expression -- freedom of expression! And kudos to the Canadian representative for supporting the CFI's right to point out Saudi Arabia's human rights violations and demand freedom of conscience for atheists in that country.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Resort Of Last Resort : Asylum Seekers In Cisarua

Elaheh Davoud Abadi Farahani, left, a 26-year-old asylum seeker from Iran.
On the right is her husband Mehdi Javid Kian Ali, who
says he had to flee the Islamic theocracy because he is an atheist.
(source: The Global Mail)
There is a very poignant, intense and fascinating story over at the fantastic Global Mail site today about the Indonesian resort town of Cisarua and the desperate straits of its refugee population.

Resort Of Last Resort:
Fear, corruption, boredom, smugglers, extortionists, Saudi sex tourists and temporary wives: such is life in the Indonesian resort town that has become limbo for asylum seekers.

Cisarua seems to be a kind of purgatory where asylum seekers live in squalid rented houses while trying to get into Australia any way they can.  Some jump onto boats to be smuggled into Australia at their own peril.  Others try to make it out through legal channels, which can last for years via the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency).

The city is also a seedy resort town, home to a busy sex trade and serves as a brothel for Saudi sex tourists.
CISARUA IS WHERE PEOPLE WAIT, for either the slow wheels of UN bureaucracy to turn, or for the sudden call from a smugglers’ agent: get your things ready, eat, we’re leaving tonight.
The depressing article tells the story of some of the refugees who are stuck in this hellish place.  One of them is seeking asylum from Iran.  He cannot return to the country of his birth, he's an atheist.
Kian Ali’s claim for asylum is a simple one for a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran: he doesn’t believe in God. As a young man, Kian Ali claims to have worked for Iran’s notorious Revolutionary Guard, during which time he observed close-up the torture of opponents of the regime at Tehran’s Prison 59. The treatment that particularly got to him, he says, was the practice of using funnels to insert boiled eggs into the vaginas and anuses of detainees. “This was all in the name of Islam.” 
It quickly becomes that Kian Ali is not the kind of man who keeps his head down and his opinions to himself. “I’m anti-Shia, I’m anti-Islam. If you hand me a rocket launcher, I’ll blow up the Kaaba,” he says, referring to Islam’s holiest site.
Read more of this over at the Global Mail which also featured an excellent series of articles on witchcraft in Papua New Guinea this past year.  It's quickly becoming one of my favourite international news magazines.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Exiled Moroccan Blogger Speaks At Geneva Human Rights Summit

Kacem El Ghazzali
Two years ago, atheist blogger Kacem El Ghazzali was forced to flee his Morocco and go into exile in Switzerland, where he remains to this day.  Hemant Mehta covers this story in How Brave Do You Have to Be to Blog as a Non-Religious Arab? (2012).  Apparently you have to be very brave indeed.

This has become an all to common pattern.  People are being nearly-murdered, incarcerated, sued by their governments, or forced to flee their countries merely for putting their opinions out there in blogs.

Well last month Kacem spoke to Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, an annual conference hosted by the organization UN Watch.

Exiled After Threats: Blogger Wants More Freedoms in Morocco
Ghazzali's problems began soon after he started an anonymous blog where he wrote about his atheism. Though Morocco is often recognized as being one of the most "moderate" of Muslim countries in terms of religiously influenced laws and customs, Islam is the official state religion, and attempting to convert a Muslim is illegal. According to Article 220 of the country's penal code, it's a crime that includes "anyone who employs incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion."
Unfortunately, organizations like the UN seem to be giving Muslim countries carte blanche to turn a blind eye to the violent persecution of their own citizens who do not believe in any god.  It's all nice and good they are listening to Ghazzali, but the just recently sold atheists down river by accepting a critically flawed EU resolution on freedom of religion, much to the loud protest of groups such as IHEU.
Four days after appearing on France 24, Ghazzali claims that the principal of his school accused him of working for a "foreign agenda," alleged that he had violated Article 220, and physically assaulted him. Students even threw rocks at the blogger. The imam in his village of Bouderbala denounced him from the pulpit, and his extended family stopped talking to him.
Afraid to show his face in public, Ghazzali started living underground, moving from one friend's house to the next, all across the country. He received texts with death threats on his mobile phone. And one public death threat posted on a website showed a group of masked men with the promise, "Soon you will be slain like a sheep."
I guess I'll add this to my list of questions and queries to the Office of Religious Freedom here in Canada.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Atheists Abandoned By European Union When It Comes To Human Rights

U.N. General Assembly Hall.
So the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a E.U. resolution "calling for an end to religious intolerance and violence and for all governments to observe freedom of religion and belief."  Non-binding, of course.

Ending religious intolerance sounds okay, I guess - although the UN should be standing up for human rights and not the rights of religions.  My tolerance levels for religion have been on the wane as of late. I certainly hope this isn't code for ending words and actions that offend people's religious sensitivities. You know, a big return to more blasphemy laws.

As for violence, I'm all for ending that.

As for promoting freedom of religion and belief.  Sure, people should be allowed to believe whatever they wish as long as it doesn't translate into doing harmful and illegal things in the name of their religion.  Note that I'm not talking about religion's freedom or belief's freedom because that would be just silly.  Religions do not have rights or freedoms, people do.  This is a human rights question, not a religious rights question.

So yes, I don't want people to get persecuted for their beliefs in or not in any religious creed.

So, with the rather dismal stories of persecution of atheists around the world, like Alexander Aan, how are non-believers protected?

But the campaigners, who had earlier given the council a report on abuse of atheists, mainly in Muslim countries, had sought a text making clear its injunctions included them. 
"The wording of this resolution shows how the world, even the secular West, ignores the plight of atheists and other non-believers in many countries," said Sonja Eggericks, president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. 
"Many people who recognize no supernatural being are suffering and even dying for trying to exercise their right to hold and profess their views," she said in a statement sent to Reuters from Brussels. 
Elizabeth O'Casey of the U.S.-based Centre for Inquiry said the EU refusal to include a direct reference to non-believers as needing protection alongside religious minorities "fails many millions of people across the globe".
Well, we've seen this before with the Canadian Office of Religious Freedom and their refusal to have anything to do with atheists whatsoever.  You know, atheist who are likely to be even more mistrusted and despised by religious groups in many of these countries than other religious groups.  If there's anything that seems to bind together disparate religious views it seems to be a common fear, misunderstanding and mistrust of atheists.

But no wait, the EU representatives claim that, although the word atheist or non-believer is apparently not specifically mentioned anywhere in their resolution, it apparently still condemns "all forms of violence against, intolerance towards and discrimination of people on the basis of their religious or non-religious identity."

So why didn't the EU put the a-word into the agreement?  Well, they decided to let it drop so they could make a deal with the bloc of countries that have been rather actively pushing blasphemy laws lately.
Diplomats said the EU had omitted a specific reference to the need for protection for atheists, whose numbers are reported in recent surveys as growing strongly around the globe, in a deal with Islamic countries. 
Under that alleged deal, member states of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on the council would accept the EU resolution in return for EU approval of their own resolution condemning religious intolerance.

Well isn't that comforting?  It's nice to know the EU truly has our interests at heart.  And what was that part about Muslim countries again?
But the campaigners, who had earlier given the council a report on abuse of atheists, mainly in Muslim countries, had sought a text making clear its injunctions included them. 
Yes, that was it.  So explicit wording that would contribute to our safety was used as a bargaining chip.  Seems like we've been sold out for thirty pieces of silver.

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