Middle East Eye reports:
This week, Saudi Arabia will be re-elected to the UN Human Right Council (HRC) for the fourth time, after another non-competitive election at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
While serving its third term on the council, Saudi Arabia blocked international inquiries into its human rights abuses, punished Saudi citizens who worked in collaboration with the HRC, and threatened to cut critical UN funding after being called out for violating children’s rights.
Worse, instead of incentivising the kingdom to institute reforms to curtail abuses and foster greater accountability, Saudi Arabia’s membership on the council appears to be having the opposite effect.
The number of executions in the kingdom has spiked dramatically since Saudi Arabia was last elected to the council – with 2015 marking the most brutal year in two decades with 157 executions and 2016 closing in with 124 executions as of the end of September.
Meanwhile, the country ignores visit requests from the HRC’s “special procedures” – independent human rights experts who undertake country visits and report back to the council. Currently, Saudi Arabia has seven outstanding visit requests, including requests from special rapporteurs appointed to conduct fact-finding inquiries related to torture, freedom of expression and opinion, and executions.
This is the same UN where they tut tut over the name of one of our ministries.
Here’s a summary of human rights in Saudi Arabia:
- Torture by the state
- rape victims lashed for adultery
- Sentences of flogging up to 2,500 times
- Imprisonment for changing religion
- Women need permission of a man to travel abroad
- Women not allowed to drive
- Shia muslims ineligible for many government jobs
- Illegal to practice any non Muslim religion in public
- Trade unions banned, and political parties
- Demonstrations are illegal
- Capital punishment for homosexuality
A wonderful member of the UN Human Rights Council