KSA's re-election to UNHRC reflects global community's trust — Al-Mouallimi

KSA's re-election to UNHRC reflects global community's trust — Al-Mouallimi
Ambassador Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Moallami is seen at the United Nations in this file photo.
Updated 29 October 2016

KSA's re-election to UNHRC reflects global community's trust — Al-Mouallimi

KSA's re-election to UNHRC reflects global community's trust — Al-Mouallimi

UNITED NATIONS: Saudi Arabia’s re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) “reflects the international community's trust in the pioneering and leading role played by the Kingdom” in the UN body, the Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations said on Saturday.
Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi stressed that the positive development will allow the kingdom to complete its mission in defending the human rights in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
"This leading role in the council is approved over the past three years. The Kingdom will continue this role during the three coming years. Saudi Arabia always participates in the joint international action," Al-Mouallimi said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The 193 member-states voted on Friday to fill 14 seats at the Geneva-based council.
Saudi Arabia secured a convincing 152 votes. Three other Arab countries are members of the council, including Egypt, Tunisia and newly elected Iraq.
Completing the list of 14 newly elected members are Brazil, Britain, China, Cuba, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Rwanda, South Africa and the United States.

Why Russia lost
Some human rights organizations campaigned against the re-election of Saudi Arabia and Russia, citing the separate military campaigns waged by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and Russia’s bombing of civilian populations in Syria in support of the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.
The Kingdom has explained to the UN the Coalition’s goal in Yemen, which is to restore the UN-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi that Iran-backed Houthi militias, in cahoots with loyalists of disgraced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have sought to overthrow since 2014. Saudi Arabia had also been the biggest source of development and relief aid to Yemen.
Russia’s failure to win re-election reflected international disapproval of Moscow’s involvement in the war in Syria, say rights groups. The UN General Assembly elected Hungary and Croatia instead to represent eastern Europe at the 47-nation council, which monitors and investigates rights violations worldwide.
It was only the second time that a permanent Security Council member was voted off, after the United States in 2001 lost its seat on the Commission of Human Rights, the council’s predecessor.
“They bomb a hospital one day, they run for the Human Rights Council the next. And they wonder why they missed the cut?” commented a Western diplomat, who declined to be named.
Asked about the defeat, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin quipped: “We need a break.” The outcome was an upset for Russia, which has been a member for all but one year since the council was set up in 2006.
“Croatia and Hungary fortunately, because of their size, they are not as exposed to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is quite exposed,” he said.
“We have been there a number of years. I am sure next time we are going to get it.”
More than 80 human rights and aid organizations had urged UN member-states to vote Russia off the council for its military support of President Bashar Assad in Syria’s bloody civil war.
Russia has been accused by Western powers and rights groups of indiscriminate bombings in the Syrian government operation to seize rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
Some 250,000 civilians in east Aleppo have been living under siege since July and food rations are expected to run out soon, the United Nations has warned.
“It clearly will be a wakeup call to Moscow,” said John Fisher, Human Rights Watch’s Geneva director.
“We sincerely hope that the message they will take from today’s vote is the need to make sure their engagement in Syria corresponds with international human rights and humanitarian law.”

(Additional input from Agencies)