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EU Backs Text Rebuking Saudi Arabia at Human Rights Council

EU Backs Text Rebuking Saudi Arabia at Human Rights Council
folder_openMiddle East... access_time3 years ago
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By Staff, Agencies

At least 36 countries, including all 28 EU members, signed a statement criticizing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday, diplomats said.

The statement is the first rebuke of the kingdom since the UN forum was set up in 2006.

The text, to be read out by Harald Aspelund, Iceland’s ambassador to the Geneva talks, calls on Saudi authorities to release women activists and cooperate with a UN-led probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2.

“It is a success for Europe to be united on this,” an envoy of an EU country told Reuters.

Some of the women, including those who campaigned for the right to drive, have been subjected to electric shocks, flogging, physical assault and other forms of torture, activists say.

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet called on Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to release women activists tortured in detention after authorities claimed they are harming the country’s interests.

The Saudi deputy public prosecutor told Saudi-owned newspaper Alsharq Alawsat last week that his office had looked into media reports that the women were tortured and found no evidence, claiming the reports are “false”.