Calls For UK Govt To Clarify Role In Getting Saudi Arabia Onto UNHRC

Liberal Democrat and Green Party leaders call on David Cameron to reveal whether British government supported Saudi bid

Saudi Arabia

The British prime minister has been urged to clarify the role the UK Government played in voting Saudi Arabia on to the UN Human Rights Council.

The leaders of the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats are calling on David Cameron to come clean on the issue.

The calls follow the kingdom’s execution of 47 people in a single day which sparked outrage across the Middle East.

The Independent reports: The leaders of the Liberal Democrat and Green parties have demanded a public inquiry into whether the UK was involved in a secret vote-trading deal in 2013 to secure both countries a place on an influential UN panel.

Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks last year purported to show that UK initiated the secret negotiations by asking Saudi Arabia for its support.

The exchanges have never been commented on by UK officials. Both Britain and Saudi Arabia were later named among the 47 member states of the UNHRC following the secret ballot.

Following the execution of dozens of people including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Mr Cameron has been accused by human rights campaigners of “turning a blind eye” to Saudi abuses.

And speaking to The Independent, Natalie Bennett and Tim Farron have led calls for the Government to issue a full response to last year’s alleged leak.

Ms Bennett, the Green Party leader, said the Saudi kingdom’s role on the UN council was “one of many issued raised by the mass executions”. She called for a public inquiry into the leaked diplomatic cables and the UK’s alleged decision to support Saudi Arabia in spite of its human rights record.

“In light of the weekend’s events, the government should be launching an inquiry to establish who made the decision to so abuse the UN process and the principle of universal human rights,” she said. “The results of this inquiry must be published.  

Despite having one of the worst records in the world, the United Nations handed Saudi Arabia a key human rights role last year .