SHAFAQNA- Hawzah News Agency : Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged world states to vote against Saudi Arabia’s bid to take a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, stating that the ultra-conservative kingdom has committed “massive rights violations” both at home and abroad.
The New York-based group warned in a statement on Thursday that Saudi Arabia continues to target human rights campaigners and political dissidents, including women’s rights activists, and others it has arbitrarily detained and prosecuted.
Louis Charbonneau, UN director at HRW, called the Persian Gulf monarchy a “serial rights abuser” that “should not be rewarded with seats on the Human Rights Council.”
Charbonneau said in the statement that Saudi Arabia has not only committed massive rights violations at home, but it has tried to undermine the international human rights system that it is demanding to be a part of.
HRW also invoked a lack of accountability following Saudi Arabia’s murder and dismemberment of renowned journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul in October 2018.
“Thirty-three countries at the current Human Rights Council session denounced Saudi rights violations and called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained. And the Saudi-led coalition continues to commit war crimes against civilians in Yemen,” the group said.
HRW warned that the kingdom has a history of using its seat on the council to prevent scrutiny of its abuses and those of its allies.
“Saudi Arabia has threatened to withdraw millions of dollars in UN funding to stay off the secretary-general’s annual ‘list of shame’ for violations against children,” the group said.
Earlier this week, the Prisoners of Conscience, an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that Saudi authorities had sentenced a prominent economist to 15 years in prison after refusing to publish an interview with the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“The economist Essam al-Zamil was unjustly sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after three years of arbitrary detention,” the post read.
“Al-Zamil deserved a ministerial position in the ministry of economy but the repressive authorities have imprisoned [him] since 2017. Now they have completed that human rights violation by issuing a 15-year prison sentence against him,” the tweet continued.