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Human Rights Council 40: Saudi Arabia

The UK welcomed Saudi Arabia’s acceptance of the UK's UPR recommendation, but expressed concern with Saudi Arabia's overall human rights record.

UN Chair Geneva

Thank you, Mr Vice-President,

The UK welcomes Saudi Arabia’s continued engagement with the UPR process.

We welcome Saudi Arabia’s acceptance of our recommendation on the investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. We note the beginning of the judicial process in Saudi Arabia and continue to watch the process closely and expect the continuing investigation and trial to proceed in line with internationally recognised legal standards. We call for those responsible for to be held to account.

We are disappointed that Saudi Arabia did not fully accept our recommendation on the use of the Specialised Criminal Court and we ask for further clarification. We are concerned that diplomats remain unable to observe trials at the Specialised Criminal Court, including the recent hearings of women’s rights defenders. We would remind Saudi Arabia that preventing diplomatic observation of trials is not in line with the Vienna Convention or with Saudi Arabia’s own previous assurances to this Council.

We welcome Saudi Arabia’s acceptance of our recommendation to strengthen and properly implement protection for migrant workers by prosecuting employers who confiscate passports and ensuring there are options for legal redress for victims of trafficking.

The UK remains concerned by Saudi Arabia’s overall human rights record. In particular: the limits on freedom of religion or belief, especially for minorities; the limits on freedom of expression, including the mass arrests of activists, journalists and academics; the increased use of terrorist courts for political dissidents; and the continued use of the death penalty. We are also particularly concerned by the detention of women’s rights defenders and allegations of torture and mistreatment.

Thank you, Mr Vice-President.

Published 14 March 2019