Monday, April 19, 2021
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David Cameron Defends Human Rights Deal With Saudi Arabia

British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves after giving a statement to the media about Scotland's referendum results, outside his official residence at 10 Downing Street in central London, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence, deciding to remain part of the United Kingdom after a historic referendum that shook the country to its core. The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

It’s currently the Conservative Party Conference, yesterday we heard that equality is vitally important to the Conservatives from an Equalities Minister who voted against marriage equality, and today David Cameron has stated that ‘gay equality is at the core of the Conservative Party mission’.

After seeing how people who vote against LGBT+ rights get assigned to positions vitally important to equality that statement seems untrue, however, when you find out about a deal Cameron made with Saudi Arabia it becomes frankly absurd.

Last month Saudi Arabia was elected to head the United Nations Human Rights council, a position that they were only able to achieve after a deal with Britain, and David Cameron, to secure them a seat in the council last year.

This appointment as the head of the council is nothing short of appalling, and to find out that they were only able to get into that position due to the government of my own country makes me feel physically sick to my stomach.

For those not in the know, Saudi Arabia are one of the worst abusers of Human Rights in the entire world.  Torture is legal and used frequently.  Women have little to no rights and are frequently segregated in what many refer to as ‘gender apartheid’.  LGBT+ people and their rights are completely unrecognised and frequently punished with imprisonment and even death.  Freedom of press does not exist.  Anyone who speaks out against the government and their oppression are almost always arrested, tortured and killed.

This is the kind of country that Britain makes deals with.  These are the kind of people that a political party that says equality is core to them and that LGBT+ rights are ‘at the core’ of their mission want to work alongside.  A country that does not believe in equality, a country that kills people for loving the ‘wrong’ person.

In a sit down interview aired on Chanel 4 news yesterday news presenter Jon Snow challenged David Cameron with his links with Saudi Arabia.

Mr Snow asked, ‘In November we did a deal with the Saudis that we would back them into joining the human rights council of the United Nations, providing they backed us.  Now that sounds a bit squalid for one of the most human rights abusing regimes on earth.’

The Prime Minister replied, ‘Saudi Arabia is a member of the United Nations, but we completely disagree with them.  We completely disagree with them about their  punishment routines, about the death penalty, about those issues.’

Not happy with the response Mr Snow pressed on, ‘So why did you do this deal then?  They’re not the right sort of people to be doing any sort of deal on human rights.’

Cameron continued to try and dodge giving a straight answer, insisting that ‘we have issues with their policies’ was adequate explanation as to why he made a deal with them.  He eventually caved to the questioning and admitted that ‘We have a relationship with Saudi Arabia, and if you want to know why, I’ll tell you why.  It’s because we receive from them some very important intelligence and security information that keeps us safe.’

The interview can be viewed below, with the questions on Saudi Arabia beginning at 5:26.

One of the things Jon Snow mentions in the questions is about a young boy, still a teenager, who is facing execution for peacefully speaking out against the Saudi regime. This child is going to be executed.  He is going to be beheaded and his corpse will be crucified and put on public display for three days.  That’s the country our equality loving government works with and makes deals with.

That horrifies me, and it should horrify you.  If I’m being completely honest, writing about what that young man is going to face has left me in tears.  It’s horrific, and the British leader is working with a government that wants to do that.  It’s reprehensible.

We all know his reasoning, that we are provided with ‘intelligence’ is only part of it.  Oil and money are a bigger part.  Britain has made a deal with a monster for profit.  And personally, if it is for intelligence to keep us safe, the price for that safety is too high.  We shouldn’t be working with people like this, we should be stopping this from happening.  Instead of that though our government is putting a price on freedom and human life, they’re saying that as long as they’re profiting from it they’ll allow atrocities and support those committing them.

No matter what David Cameron or his party says I will never, never, believe for one moment that they believe in equality.  Their actions are speaking louder than any speech they can give.  Right now I’m ashamed to be British.

Amy Walker
Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer. In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.



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