Rita Panahi: Saudi Arabia has no place on United Nations Women’s Commission

Rita Panahi calls Saudi Arabia a “rancid stain on humanity”.
“It may be 2017 in the civilised world but the Saudis continue to conduct their affairs with a backward brutality that’s reminiscent of the Dark Ages.”

Rita Panahi, Herald Sun

Why are Saudis on UN Women’s Commission?

SAUDI Arabia is a rancid stain on humanity and has no business sitting on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

It’s preposterous that a country that beheads people with the same gusto as Islamic State for “crimes” such as atheism, apostasy, blasphemy, idolatry, sodomy and sorcery, as well as condemning millions of women to a miserable existence as subservient slaves, is lecturing the world on human rights.

Now, in a move that marks the UN as beyond parody, the Saudis have been elected to a body charged with advancing the rights of women. It’s akin to selecting a known paedophile to run the police’s child safety unit.

Indeed, it’s hard to think of an analogy that is as farcical as the despot kingdom being elected to the UN Women’s Commission which is “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women”.

It may be 2017 in the civilised world but the Saudis continue to conduct their affairs with a backward brutality that’s reminiscent of the Dark Ages.

Saudi women get into the backseat of a car. Picture: AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine

Women are treated as worse than second-class citizens from the cradle to the grave in a country where the legal system is based on medieval religious texts.

Sharia or Islamic law is used to subjugate women in every facet of life with a form of institutionalised discrimination that is unrelenting.

Saudi Arabia’s gender-based laws and customs are among the harshest in the world. It is the only country where women are not allowed to drive because it will apparently “corrupt society” and even lead to the female driver’s ovaries malfunctioning.


Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan explained in an interview in 2013 why allowing women behind the wheel was deeply problematic: “If a woman drives a car … that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards

“That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees.”

More recently, Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh has said that permitting women to drive was a “dangerous matter that should not be permitted” and that driving would “expose women to evil”.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has done little to improve the kingdom’s human rights record.

There was much hype in 2011 when King Abdullah granted Saudi women the right to vote — only in municipal elections — but the reality is that these newly “empowered” ladies still cannot drive themselves to the polling booth nor leave the house without the permission or supervision of a male guardian.

The archaic restrictions placed on women include how they dress, whom they associate with and even how they seek medical advice. Forced to wear dehumanising niqabs, burqas or, if they’re lucky, hijabs in the desert heat, women are not allowed to socialise with the opposite sex or show their beauty.

The male guardianship system sees adult women treated as children who must seek permission from male family members to obtain a passport, access medical care, study, work and marry.

King Salman, who took the throne in 2015 after the death of his half-brother, has thus far done little to improve the kingdom’s human rights record.

The Saudis embrace a strict brand of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism and use their enormous wealth to export that abhorrent ideology to the world.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Canberra over the execution of Shia sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. Picture: Ray Strange

Their money buys influence among academics, politicians and activists. It also sees them proudly sitting on the UNHRC and now the UN Women’s Commission, but their riches should not make them immune from criticism and sanctions.

Saudi Arabia’s disdain for decency and equality is not restricted to the treatment of women; they also persecute non-Muslims, which in Saudi eyes include Shiite Muslims, with religious intolerance enshrined in law.


There has been much conjecture in the past two weeks about which 47 countries, out of the 54 on the UN economic and social council, voted for Saudi Arabia to be admitted to a group supposedly dedicated to protecting and advancing women’s rights.

It is believed that five European countries voted for the Saudis in the secret ballot.

Late last week, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel confirmed Belgium had voted for the Saudis and apologised for his country’s support for a regime that systematically and brutally oppresses women.

Sadly, not many Western feminists are too interested in the gender apartheid that exists in the Muslim world and the plight of Saudi women isn’t considered a priority for activists who’d rather be campaigning against gendered toys and pronouns.

Rita Panahi is a Herald Sun columnist.



6 thoughts on “Rita Panahi: Saudi Arabia has no place on United Nations Women’s Commission”

  1. This is worthy of a Monty Python sketch. A montage of all the hilarious jokes such as putting a Muslim in charge of the Human Rights Commission and the various Islamic butchers saying that Islam is a religion of peace while encouraging the slaughter of non-Muslims. Even funnier is the endless stream of media people, politicians, bureaucrats and government officials denying that Islam is a problem. It’s mot as funny if you have to live with it.

    Rita Panahi describes Saudi Arabia perfectly. The only people worse are those who grovel before the Saudis. In world war two we had Chamberlain, Quisling and and Petain. We now have most of Europe selling out to our mortal enemies. We have no Churchill-like leader to stand up to Islam’s bullying. If Le Pen gets elected there may be a glimmer of hope. She’s no Churchill but her heart is in the right place.

    1. And is quoting that blogsite meant to be in defense of Islam, or defense of what you see the Dark Ages to have actually been?

      I cannot quite tell what point it is that you’re trying to make.

      As far as I am concerned, Rita has hit the nail on the head, as usual. Saudi Arabia is a rancid stain on humanity – but I would extend it one part further and say that its Islam itself that is the rancid stain.

      After all, the House of Saud may be beholden to their Wahhabist overlords but at the end of the day, everything that is wrong with that nation and its laws, society and culture all boils down to Islam. Hard to refute that, when SA so proudly extols Islam as its defining light and guide.

      That nation has no place being on the UN full stop, least of all in any capacity to do with women’s rights or simple human rights. Having the Arab’s on board just proves how pointless the UN has become today and how far it has wandered from its mission statement and purpose.

      1. Definitely not trying to defend Islam, we hear alot about an Islamic ‘golden’ age and a European ‘dark’ ages – both are a false read on history by those who wish to demo use western civilization.
        As for Saudi Arabia, agree it’s rancid stain on humanity, but ipso facto Islam (and Sharia) are also a rancid stain…

  2. “After all, the House of Saud may be beholden to their Wahhabist overlords but at the end of the day, everything that is wrong with that nation and its laws, society and culture all boils down to Islam.”

    Exactly – but it also applies to the self-described ‘moderate’ states – Turkey, Malaysia etc

  3. first of all, a definition of terms: non-muslim nations constitute civilization, and muslim- and muslim-dominated countries are gangsta country – there is no such thing as “islamic civilization.” in islamic countries, pious muslims borrow (and steal, once they seize control) concepts and technology from their non-muslim victims; history, science, and that study of anything but the quran, the hadith, and the sirat rasul allah are blasphemy in islam, with the expected punishment. there are 1.6 billion muslims (the most put-upon victims of islam), and given recent history of their lack of assimilation into civilized states, it might be considered pragmatic to just kill them all. that is a monstrous approach that only extreme leftists and pious muslims would actually consider, however; the best solution to the problem islam presents to civilization is to isolate it.

    saudi arabia and the other gulf states, awash in cash they use to attack civilization, need to be isolated first. a permanent military and electronic blockade of these pirate-infested regions (infested by pious muslims) must be imposed so that only food and medicine can reach them, and so that money transfers and attack instructions are blocked. no oil should be allowed in or out, which should simplify the blockade immensely.

    besides the blockades, all civilized nations need to examine their muslim populations closely. all who are non-citizens must be expelled immediately. should they own property, it should be seized and sold, and an equivalent amount of gold given to them as they leave the country (unless a muslim is implicated in an islamic attack plan, he should not be considered or treated as a criminal). in much the same fashion that ethnic-based criminal organizations are watched by local and national police, with the ethnic community necessarily being watched for possible criminal behavior that may be part of the criminal organization, muslim citizens and their mosques must be watched. uncivilized (devout muslim) behavior, if proved in a court of law, should be followed by having citizenship stripped, property seized (no gold given back, because the pirate was lying and hiding, waiting for a chance to attack), and deportation to the original hellhole of islam, saudi arabia.

    if we don’t react this way, and quickly, we will be in the position of indonesia, once mostly hindu and buddhist, but now, particularly in the state of aceh, becoming muslim-dominated. it is, in fact, the nation with the largest population of muslims on the planet. aceh is increasingly dangerous for non-muslims, who are regularly targeted by muslims for blasphemy. my guess is that within 5 to 10 years, it should be a completely-muslim country, with the usual mass murders that accompany such muslim takeovers.

    or we can just hope for the best, in which we can kiss our a**es – and civilization – goodbye.

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