Thursday, July 7, 2016

Saudi Arabia and the UN Human Rights Council

From Amnesty International:

Take action now: Suspend Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council.

"We are writing to share with you a joint statement by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch
regarding the position of Saudi Arabia on the UN Human Rights Council..."

"...Urge the United States to support a resolution at the UN General Assembly
calling to suspend Saudi Arabia
from the Human Rights Council on the basis of its commission of gross
and systematic violations of human rights
both domestically and in Yemen.

In November 2013, when Saudi Arabia was elected as a member of the Human Rights Council, it pledged
among other things “to protect and promote human rights”...

...and to “support the human rights bodies and mechanisms
of the United Nations and cooperate constructively with them.”

It made additional pledges during its Universal Periodic Review in 2014,
including to consider ratifying the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights
and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
and abolish
the system of male guardianship over women.

However, since becoming a Council member, Saudi Arabia has committed gross and systematic violations of human rights
both inside the country and as part of the military coalition it leads in Yemen.

The credibility of the UN Human Rights Council is at stake.

Since joining the Council, Saudi Arabia’s dire human rights record at home has continued to deteriorate
and the coalition it leads has unlawfully killed and injured thousands of civilians in the conflict in Yemen.

To allow it to remain an active member of the Council,
where it has used this position to shield itself from accountability for possible war crimes,
smacks of deep hypocrisy.

It would bring the world’s top human rights body into disrepute.

Saudi Arabia’s conduct demonstrates a persistent failure to live up to the solemn requirements
of membership of the Council.

There is no evidence of serious effort on the part of Saudi Arabia to address these violations;

indeed it has used its position to effectively obstruct independent scrutiny and accountability.

Resolution 60/251 provides that “the General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, may suspend the rights
of membership in the Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

We urge you to act now and encourage President Obama and UN Ambassador Samantha Power to take leadership on these issues and support a resolution
at the UN General Assembly to suspend Saudi Arabia’s rights of membership in the Human Rights Council."


Please send a letter or email to your congressional representative.


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

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