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Saudi Arabia at UN rejects double standards on human rights issues

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Saudi Arabia last week expressed its rejection of any attempts to politicize human rights issues, specifically by countries that commit human rights violations and criticize others, in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

“We reject any attempt to politicize the issue of human rights or to take it away from its natural forum in Geneva… We reject the attempts of those who live in houses of glass of throwing stones at others without noticing their own failures and weaknesses,” the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi said.

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He welcomed, on behalf of the Kingdom, the Council members’ rejection of the resolution submitted by the Netherlands during the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, titled “The Situation of Human Rights in Yemen,” SPA reported.

“This morning, we witnessed an attempt on the part of our friends and delegation of the Netherlands to delegitimize the Human Rights Council and to make its resolutions and conditions void of any substance,” he said.

The Council’s rejection of a draft resolution on Yemen demonstrated that it did not trust the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen or its biased reporting, which used information from the Iran-backed Houthi militia, SPA said, quoting the ambassador.

“They tried to pass a resolution in Geneva and failed and failed and then come to this August forum and try to present a statement, a so-called statement, with the help of a few countries in Europe to try to pass the blame on to others for their failure in Geneva,” al-Mouallimi said.

“This is not acceptable, and this makes a mockery of the procedures of the Human Rights Council,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of a group of states, he detailed a litany of human rights violations, abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law by parties to the conflict, as outlined in the fourth report by the United Nations Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen.

Human rights abuses

Al-Mouallimi added: “We reject in particular the efforts on the part of the Netherlands that claim to be asking or advocating for accountability. What accountability has there been for the victims in Srebrenica [massacre]?”

The Srebrenica massacre was the genocide of more than 7,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) boys and men, perpetrated in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces in the town of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Vasva Smajlovic, a survivor of Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, stands next to her husband's tombstone, during visit at the Srebrenica-Potocari memorial cemetery on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
Vasva Smajlovic, a survivor of Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, stands next to her husband's tombstone, during visit at the Srebrenica-Potocari memorial cemetery on March 15, 2019. (AFP)

“What accountability has there been for the victims of colonialism throughout the world?” he asked.

“Our European friends address the council, address the assembly this morning with the spirit and the condescendence of imperialist powers, dictating to others what to do or how to do it,” al-Mouallimi continued.

“We reiterate the rejection of the Human Rights Council to the resolution that refers to the human rights situation in Yemen,” the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN said.

Those who wish the Yemeni people well, he said, are welcome to provide assistance to Yemen.

“What assistance has the Netherlands provided to Yemen to overcome the humanitarian crisis?” he asked.

“What credentials do they bring to the table for criticizing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or others in that regard?”

As the conflict in Yemen enters its seventh year, there continues to be an urgent need for independent and impartial monitoring and investigations into all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and human rights abuses, by parties to the conflict, al-Mouallimi said.

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