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UK Lawyers: Remove Saudi from UN Human Rights Council

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British lawyers called for Saudi Arabia to be removed from the United Nations Human Rights Council, stating that the kingdom detains political and free speech activists without charge.

United Nations

In a report released on Wednesday in London, Rodney Dixon QC and Lord Kenneth Donald John Macdonald said more than 60 individuals were detained in September last year, "many of whom are believed to be human rights defenders or political activists".

"Our main recommendation is that steps should be taken by the General Assembly to suspend the government of Saudi Arabia from the [UN] Human Rights Council," Dixon said.

It is "completely contradictory and ironic for a government with systemic patterns of abuse - as we have highlighted in the report - to be sitting on the council, and in fact previously to have chaired the council.

"That suspension will act as a major lever for the government to clean up their act and make a proper new start."

The report, titled Shrouded in secrecy: the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia following arrests in September 2017, was commissioned by the relatives of detainees and will be forwarded to Saudi authorities.

Dixon urged Saudi Arabia to release all political detainees.

"Those detained have not been charged with any offence, and the information about the reasons for their arrests and circumstances of their imprisonment are very limited," the report said.

"There is cause for serious concern about the treatment of many of those detained, including Salman Al-Awda who has recently been hospitalized and others who are, effectively, disappeared."

Human rights groups have previously called for Saudi's membership to be taken away, citing the kingdom's involvement in the bloody war in Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of people.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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