UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer testified before the UN Human Rights Council today about its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on Saudi Arabia.
Mr. President, the purpose of this review is to apply scrutiny to every UN member state, in order to promote and protect human rights. Does this report on Saudi Arabia live up to this goal?
Let us consider by reading from the report.
“China commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote economic, social and cultural rights [and] welcomed efforts to promote dialogue and tolerance among religious groups.”
- “Iraq commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
- “Jordan commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
- “Egypt welcomed Saudi Arabia’s work to strengthen the role of women.”
- “Libya congratulated Saudi Arabia on acceding to conventions and its continued efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
- “Malaysia welcomed Saudi Arabia’s progress in promoting women’s rights.”
- “Mauritania welcomed progress towards equality and justice… efforts to enable the participation of women at all levels.
- “Pakistan welcomed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect and promote women’s and children’s rights.”
- “Somalia welcomed the high priority given to human rights, the harmonization of sharia law and international human rights law and the advancement of women’s rights.”
- “Sri Lanka welcomed the efforts to promote women’s participation in public life.”
- “The State of Palestine noted Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect and promote human rights, [and] praised its accession to several instruments.”
- “Turkey commended the increased women’s empowerment.”
Mr. President, are these words a fair representation of human rights in Saudi Arabia?
The truth is that there are zero women’s rights, zero religious rights, zero minority rights, zero human rights, in Saudi Arabia. The truth is that Saudi Arabia has an entrenched system of gender apartheid. The truth is that Saudi Arabia should never have been elected as a member of this Council.
Unless the words I have just quoted above are retracted, we urge the Council to reject this report.
Thank you, Mr. President.