Critics are accusing the UN of handing a key human rights role to the country with ‘arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom’, writes the Independent.

The appointment to the Human Rights Council of Saudi ambassador to Geneva, Faisal bin Hassan Trad, was uncovered by UN Watch. Its executive director, Hillel Neuer, said that ‘it’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia is a member of the council, but for the UN to go and name the regime as chair of a key panel only pours salt into the wounds for dissidents languishing in Saudi prisons’.

Trad will have the power to select applicants from around the world for expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Saudi Arabia ranks at number 12 in Christian charity Open Doors‘ list of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. As World Watch Monitor reported last week, churches cannot be built in Saudi Arabia, and the country’s Grand Mufti (the nation’s highest official of religious law) has called for all churches in the Arabian Peninsula to be destroyed.