Image management

The Independent reports:

A government minister has urged Saudi Arabia to do a “better job” of trumpeting its human rights successes during an official visit to the country, less than a month after it carried out the mass execution of 47 people.

Tobias Ellwood, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, made the comments on Monday as he and other British delegates addressed Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights in the capital Riyadh, The Independent understands.

Its what? Trumpeting its what? Trumpeting its what successes? Trumping its human rights what?

Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any fucking human rights “successes.” Saudi Arabia doesn’t believe in human rights, because it thinks human beings are slaves before Allah and Mohammed. Saudi Arabia wants nothing to do with human rights, because it’s run by one extremely rich family who grabbed power a few decades ago and don’t intend to give it up. Saudi Arabia hates human rights, because the house of Saud depends on the Wahhabi clerics in order to keep its stranglehold on power.

How dare a UK government minister give Saudi Arabia advice on how to pretend it gives a fuck about human rights?

During the visit, which was not publicised by the Foreign Office, Mr Ellwood was told that Saudi Arabia had introduced a series of reforms, such as allowing women to vote in municipal elections.

In response, he told his hosts that they needed to improve the way they promoted their human rights successes, according to people present at the meeting.

So the FO sent someone completely ignorant of the Saudi way with human rights to Saudi Arabia? Why?

Accounts of the meeting that appeared in three Saudi media outlets claimed that Mr Ellwood went even further, saying that people in Britain were unaware of the “notable progress” made on human rights by the Saudi regime.

An article in the daily newspaper Al Watan read: “Tobias Ellwood revealed the ignorance of the British to the notable progress in Saudi Arabia in the field of human rights, confirming throughout the visit of a British FCO delegation… that he had expressed his opinion regarding the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia before the British Parliament, and that the notable progress in this area has been obscured.”

Tell that to Raif Badawi. Tell it to Waleed Abulkhair. Tell it to the Sri Lankan domestic servant who was sentenced to stoning to death for having sex outside marriage. Tell it to the entire female population of Saudi Arabia.

Maya Foa, of the human rights organisation Reprieve, added: “These comments are astonishing. The Saudi authorities have a bad reputation on human rights because of their appalling human rights record – not because of bad PR.”

And as long as that’s the case, we don’t want them to improve their PR.

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