Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on UN member states to vote against bids launched by Saudi Arabia for a seat on the body's Human Rights Council, pointing to the Riyadh regime’s "massive rights violations" both at home and abroad.
The UN General Assembly is set to hold elections for 15 three-year terms on the 47-nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday, but HRW has warned that a lack of candidates running for seats may result in "problematic" countries winning spots by default, the official website of the HRW said.
"So far, only the Asia-Pacific regional group has a competitive slate, with five countries running for four seats. This means that the other candidate countries, even those not qualified, are virtually assured of seats on the UN’s top human rights body," the group said in a recent statement.
While Saudi Arabia has announced so-called reform plans, it continues to target human rights defenders and dissidents, including women's rights activists and others it has arbitrarily detained and prosecuted, the group warned.
HRW also invoked a lack of accountability following Saudi Arabia's murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the kingdom's Turkish embassy in October 2018.
"Thirty-three countries at the current Human Rights Council session denounced Saudi rights violations and called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained. And the Saudi-led coalition continues to commit war crimes against civilians in Yemen," the group said.