Organizations and individuals have criticized the recent appointment of Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United Nations, to head a "key human rights panel," the Independent reported Sunday.
UN Watch, an independent NGO, hinted that the appointment could have been "a consolation prize" after Saudi Arabia's bid to head the United Nations' Human Rights Council was withdrawn amid international outcry of the Gulf country's human rights infractions.
“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," Hillel Neuer, UN Watch's executive director, told the Independent.
Neuer described the move as "scandalous," while Ensaf Haidar, Badawi's wife, said that this appointment consituted “a green light to start flogging [him] again."
Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech.
Twitter users were also quick to voice their discontent:
A petition was also launched Monday demanding that " Saudi Arabia be removed from any positions of influence or decision making in any United Nation panel or forum on human rights. " The petition has racked up 5,214 signatures toward its 7,500 goal.