The UN must have a sense of humour: China and Russia are allowed to join UN Human Rights Council despite appalling records of repression but at least Saudi Arabia is refused
- Fifteen positions were up for grabs on the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday
- Saudi Arabia was the only country up for membership that failed to get elected
- China was reelected for another three years but saw a fall in votes since 2016
China and Russia were today re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council despite appalling records on repression.
Saudi Arabia was the only country up for election that failed to secure one of the three-year seats, dealing a blow to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has attempted to put an international sheen on his despotic reign.
China, which is responsible for human rights abuses on an industrial scale, including the arbitrary detention of a million Uighur Muslims and ‘conversion therapy’ for gay people, won 139 votes – a loss of backing from 41 UN member states.
Beijing’s old Soviet ally Russia, which stands accused of poisoning Vladimir Putin’s most outspoken critic Alexei Navalny with novichok, was elected unopposed.
Saudi Arabia failed in its bid to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday as China and Russia were elected to three-year terms. Pictured: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russia’s Vladimir Putin (right)
Saudi Arabia secured just 90 votes.
Fifteen positions were up for grabs on the 47-seat body which US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of 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.’
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.
Deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch Bruno Stagno said: ‘The Human Rights Council elections today delivered a stunning rebuke to Saudi Arabia under Mohammed bin Salman’
Pakistan and Uzbekistan were elected to the council (pictured in a meeting on September 18) with 169 votes while Nepal was also elected with 150 votes
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.