This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

MEPs respond to the appointment of Saudi Arabia's ambassador at the UN Human Rights Council

The ALDE Group in the European Parliament strongly disagrees with the decision taken by the United Nations to hand over a key human rights role to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, who was elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council. He will have the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights, while his country is among the worst in the world when it comes to freedoms. The Vice-President of the ALDE Group, Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS (Liberal's Movement of Lithuania), said: "The UN's choice to hand over the chairmanship of the most pivotal human rights panel to Saudi Arabia's representative is appalling and should be condemned.  Saudi Arabia`s  leadership of the HRC  not only diminishes the credibility of the HRC but  compromises the message the  international community is trying to preach that human rights principles are universal and double standards cannot be applied here." Commenting on the news,  Marietje Schaake says the decision is a disgrace: "The fact that Saudi Arabia has made it onto the UN Human Rights Council is a disgrace. It undermines the effectiveness and the credibility of the Council, and of the UN as a whole. Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most notorious, cruel and systematic human rights violators. The EU should have prevented this from happening, and must at least make sure Saudi Arabia does not use its position to legitimize violations. Instead, the EU should increase its commitment to human rights of the people in Saudi Arabia, and even rethink the partnership it has with Saudi Arabia given its role in the Middle-East. I hope the European Parliament will send a strong signal to support the Saudi population by awarding the Sakharov Prize to blogger Raif Badawi." The news comes just after Saudi Arabia advertised for eight additional executioners. Numbers of executions have sharply risen this year. In June the country executed its one-hundredth person so far this year, but there have been many more since then.