Saudi Arabia Attacked for Contradictory Statements @ LSRMUN '13
Lady Shri Ram College Model United Conference 2013 took place from 15th-17th March in the college campus. It was attended by over 150 delegates from various schools and colleges all over the country. While three committees were convened- the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the Security Council- the UNHRC took the cake in terms of the exciting developments taking place due to the statements made by various delegates. The International Press, responsible for reporting blow-by-blow accounts of all the committees came across an interesting development wherein the Delegate of Saudi Arabia's comments caused uproar in the Human Rights Council. Reporter Trisha Ray reports in accurate detail.
The delegate of Saudi Arabia appeared to be cracking under pressure from the council as it questioned her statements regarding the penalty for supposed acts of blasphemy. As the delegate opened the floor to points of inquiry, almost the entire council raised its placards.
"Apostasy is the highest level of blasphemy", "We do not consider apostasy as a part of blasphemy", the delegate started changing her statements with startling rapidity. Flailing under the volley of questions, the delegate struggled to clarify. "Islam is equivalent to the State. Leaving Islam is leaving Saudi Arabia. Seizing the chance, the delegate of USA addressed the issue of citizenship vís-a-vís religious identity. "Renouncing a religion does not mean renouncing citizenship", he said to general approval. "By extension, you forbid anyone from leaving Saudi Arabia. Since the Saudi Arabian state punishes apostasy with death, the only way to leave Saudi Arabia will be when you're dead".
Saudi Arabia reflects a rather disturbing trend. While certain Islamic states claim to value the rights of its citizens, they repeatedly undermine the provisions given in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In a statement submitted to the Human Rights Council, the IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union) said, "The Islamic states see human rights exclusively in Islamic terms, and by sheer weight of numbers this view is becoming dominant within the UN system. The implications for the universality of human rights are ominous", it said.
In Saudi Arabia, the Basic Law, Islam dictates every aspect of public life. Courts function as per the laws of Shari'ah, legislation is done for the interest of the State, in accordance with Shari'ah (Article 63). Many OIC nations follow such laws that restrict many of the basic rights enshrined in the UDHR.
When the delegate of Saudi Arabia was asked to elaborate on her State's provisions, she wrote, "IP, I wish to clarify- the act of apostasy is of such a high level that it cannot even be included in blasphemy."; an ominous statement that can only exacerbate global apprehension regarding the conflicting stances taken by many Islamic nations. The UNHRC espouses religious freedom, and such positions must be addressed comprehensively in council in order to protect the citizens of theocracies.
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