لقرائته بالعربية اضغط هنا
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dodged criticisms directed towards it at the UN Human Rights Council with evasiveness and by attacking the countries that made such criticisms during discussions of Item 4 at the proceedings of the 45th session on September 28. In the context of its right to respond, Saudi Arabia’s UN representative, Mishaal al-Balawi, described those states as biased.
As human rights violations continue, Saudi Arabia repeated its previous claims regarding the detention of activists, saying that their detentions are not related to the exercise of legitimate rights, but to their commission of illegal acts, and that they are subject to trials that respect the rights of the accused. These claims come despite confirmation that some of these detainees have been tortured and have not yet been sentenced two years since their arrests, while facing charges related to the exercise of legitimate rights.
While journalists sit in prison for practicing their profession, al-Balawi discussed how Saudi laws guarantee freedom of opinion and expression. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia repeated its claims regarding the death penalty, saying that it is only imposed for the most serious crimes in accordance with international law and, in particular, the Convention Against Torture. However, over 800 executions in six years have occurred during the reign of King Salman, affecting minors, prisoners of conscience, and those accused of drug offenses that are not considered serious crimes. Dozens continue to face execution.
ESOHR believes that the nature of the Saudi response to the states—and its dismissal of any criticism—represents its true face of rejection vis-à-vis actual reform. While it accuses men and women human rights advocates at home of being foreign agents because of their activities, Saudi Arabia states that the criticisms of other countries constitute an intervention in its internal affairs and a conspiracy.
Al-Balawi’s words reflect Saudi Arabia’s interaction with UN mechanisms and the HRC member states. When added to its continuing abuses, this confirms Saudi Arabia’s ineligibility for renewal of its membership on the HRC, which it is seeking during the current session.