On Monday, Saudi Arabia was subjected to a review of its human rights record by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Every member country, including Canada, is subjected to a similar review every five years.
The UN is largely a farce, but its Human Rights Council is the biggest farce of all.
According to the human rights group, UN Watch, of the 96 countries speaking at Saudi Arabia’s review, 75 heaped praise on the Islamist regime. Most of the praise was for the Saudis’ treatment of women, which is still largely, officially misogynistic.
As reported by UN Watch, Venezuela (itself a repressive, socialist regime) praised Saudi Arabia “for empowering women.” Pakistan commended Saudi Arabia for “empowering women and promoting gender equality.” The Malaysian delegate said Saudi efforts “in advancing women’s rights” are “commendable.”
Perhaps most farcically of all, the Yemeni delegation thanked Saudi Arabia for “the support provided at all levels to the people of Yemen.” Since 2015, the Saudi military has led an invasion of Yemen – including, allegedly, widespread civilian deaths, attacks on international aid warehouses and the use of banned cluster bombs, The invasion has helped displace hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and led to mass famine.
Thankfully, Canada was not among the 75 nations that lauded Saudi Arabia. But, according to UN Watch, we didn’t condemn the Kingdom for its human rights record or for its invasion of Yemen or its murder of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi, either.
Canada’s delegation to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) made no mention of how agents of the Saudi government tortured and killed Khashoggi a little more than a month ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, then had a forensic doctor dismember his body, used a body double to deflect attention from his disappearance, and flew in a chemist and a toxicologist to destroy evidence.
So how come the Trudeau government didn’t instruct our UNHRC delegates to express Canada’s outrage at the growing list of Saudi human rights abuses, or at least to condemn Saudi Arabia in the strongest, diplomatic terms possible?
After all, when asked about our relations with the KSA earlier this summer, Trudeau promised, “we will be ensuring that people know that Canada is unequivocal in standing up for human rights – everywhere, all the time.”
Well, we sure didn’t stand up for them this week in Geneva. How come?
Could it be because back in August a couple of smug, self-righteous tweets from our Global Affairs department set off a ferocious response from the Saudis that caused them to withdraw their ambassador from Ottawa and threaten to pull out nearly 7,000 students (and $400 million in tuition) from Canadian universities?
And might it also be because the Liberals don’t want to risk a $13-billion contract to supply Saudi Arabia with Canadian-built armoured personnel carriers made in vote-rich Southwestern Ontario?
Of course those are the reasons.
While in opposition, the Liberals strongly criticized the Harper Tories for ruining Canada’s international standing and jeopardizing our standing as the world’s “honest broker.”
But the Trudeau Liberals, with their sophomoric, social-media, virtue-signalling approach to foreign affairs have done far more damage to our foreign relations than the Tories ever did.
Indeed, the Libs’ conceited-yet-shallow Twitter campaign against the Saudis back in August not only burnt us so badly, we had to stand silently by at the UNHRC and ignore the Yemeni and Khashoggi abuses.
It means we now have to shut up about the Saudi detention of pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife and three children now live in Quebec.
We should be standing up for Badawi, who is as much a Saudi-Canadian as Khashoggi was Saudi-American.
But because the Trudeau government couldn’t resist putting its piety on display in August, Canada must now say nothing.