World news story

Seventeenth Session of Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group, Geneva, 21 October to 1 November 2013

Statement by UK Mission Geneva on Saudi Arabia's Universal Periodic Review, 21 October 2013. In total fifteen states are scheduled to have their human rights records examined under this mechanism.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

United Nations Building in Geneva
The Universal Periodic Review is being held at the UN building in Geneva

Mr President,

The UK supports efforts made by the Saudi government to improve its human rights record.

However, the UK is disappointed that Saudi Arabia has not fulfilled all the recommendations accepted under the last Universal Periodic Review and hopes these will be given priority. The UK notes Saudi Arabia’s continued failure to meet the reporting deadlines for its UN Treaty Body commitments and regrets that access for several UN Special Rapporteurs has not been permitted.

The UK makes the following recommendations:

1) First, that the Saudi government allows women to participate fully and equally in society by abolishing the guardianship system, appointing more women to positions of authority, and increasing freedom of movement;

2) Second, that the Saudi government codifies its criminal law to bring it into line with international law and standards, and ensures it is applied effectively by an independent and impartial judiciary. Saudi Arabia’s justice system remains a concern; for example, prolonged pre-trial detention periods and the improper treatment of detainees. On women’s rights, the UK remains concerned at the severe restrictions.

Thank you.

Published 22 October 2013