Saudi Arabia failed in its bid to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday but China and Russia were elected to three-year terms.
Human rights groups hailed the snub to Riyadh, which deals a blow to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attempts to improve the kingdom’s image in the international community.
Fifteen positions were up for grabs on the 47-seat body that has been criticised by rights organisations and the United States for electing countries accused of human rights violations.
Saudi Arabia was the only country up for election that failed to be elected, mustering only 90 votes.
Human Rights Watch deputy executive director Bruno Stagno said: ‘The Human Rights Council elections today delivered a stunning rebuke to Saudi Arabia under Mohammed bin Salman.
‘Only country not elected, shunned by a majority of the UN. The kingdom reaped what it deserves for its serious violations of human rights and war crimes abroad.’
Only four of the 15 spots were contested, all in Asia-Pacific.
China received 139 votes in the secret ballot, a dramatic fall from the 180 votes that it received when they were last elected in 2016.
‘Shows more states are disturbed by China’s abysmal rights record,’ tweeted Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch.
Pakistan and Uzbekistan were elected with 169 votes while Nepal was also elected with 150 votes.
Democracy for The Arab World Now hailed Saudi Arabia’s snubbing.
Executive director Sarah Leah Whitson said: ‘Unless Saudi Arabia undertakes dramatic reforms to release political prisoners, end its disastrous war in Yemen and allow its citizens meaningful political participation, it will remain a global pariah.’
The organisation was founded by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi agents at country’s Istanbul consulate two years ago.
Russia and Cuba were among 11 countries elected unopposed. All 193 UN members were able to vote in each region.
The controversial voting system sees countries strike bargains to agree on who will stand, often unopposed.
President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the council in 2018.
‘Today the UN General Assembly once again elected countries with abhorrent human rights records,’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
He slammed the body’s membership rules, saying they ‘allow the election of the world’s worst human rights abusers to seats on the council.’
Culled from dailymail online