Saudi Arabia fails vote to join UN Human Rights Council...

Dhaka, Thursday   29 October 2020

Saudi Arabia fails vote to join UN Human Rights Council

 International Desk

 Published: 12:33 PM, 16 October 2020  

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; Photo: Reuters

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; Photo: Reuters

Saudi Arabia failed in its attempt to win a place on the 47-seat body of the United Nations Human Rights Council, but Russia and China have been elected on the 47-seat body.

According to The Guardian, the result is a severe blow to the country’s efforts to improve its image in the wake of the admitted killing of the Saudi citizen and Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia, the current chair of the G20, came fifth with just 90 votes, beaten by Nepal with 150.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Cuba were also elected on Tuesday conducted at the UN headquarters in New York to fill 15 vacant seats, which are distributed between five regions. France and UK were elected unopposed to represent Europe.

The only contested region in the 2020 elections was the Asia-Pacific, where China and Saudi Arabia were in a five-way race with Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Nepal for four seats. China attracted 139 votes, down from the last time it stood for a seat in 2016 when it gained 180.

The vote largely works by countries within regions reaching private bargains on the nation-states that will stand – often with the aim of ensuring that all the candidates stand unopposed within their region.

All 193 UN countries can vote in each region.

The Saudi’s defeat followed intensive last-minute lobbying from human rights organizations which warned that the body’s credibility would be at stake if Saudi Arabia, Russia and China were all elected given their recent histories.

In its statement, Saudi Arabia admits it places “legal restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression in order to protect public order, national security, public morals and health, and the rights or reputation of others. Mass media, publishers and all other vehicles of expression shall employ civil and polite language, comply with the laws of the state, contribute to the education of the nation and promote unity.”

However, the country makes no mention of the female activists in jail for campaigning for the right to drive, or other Saudi members of the royal family held without access to their family or lawyers.

Source: The Guardian