by Adam Withnall
Saudi Arabia has hosted an international conference on human rights, attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and resolved to combat intolerance and violence based on religious belief.
The kingdom convened the fifth annual meeting of the Istanbul Process as its Supreme Court prepared to rule on the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels”. It later upheld the sentence.
The UN HRC recently faced criticism over Saudi plans to head up the council from 2016, in what critics said would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the international body.
And the Geneva-based human rights campaign group UN Watch accused HRC president Joachim Rücker of giving “false international legitimacy” to the two-day conference on religious freedoms held in Jeddah on 3 and 4 June.
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