British lawyers call for Saudi Arabia’s removal from UN Human Rights Council
British lawyers call for Saudi Arabia’s removal from UN Human Rights Council

Two British lawyers released a report [text, PDF] on Wednesday detailing Saudi Arabia’s recent human rights violations and demanding the country’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] be suspended for violating international law.

Authors Rodney Dixon QC and Lord Kenneth Donald John Macdonald allege that more than 60 individuals were arbitrarily arrested and detained in September and have yet to face formal charges. Many of those detained are believed to be human rights defenders and political activists who spoke out against Saudi Arabia.

The report accuses the state of violating the Arab Charter on Human Rights [text, PDF], Convention Against Torture [text] and customary international law, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text]. The report asks the UN General Assembly to take action against the state for human rights violations, stating:

We invite the Human Rights Council to: (a) Condemn the violations of fundamental human rights in KSA, including those documented in this report; (b) Call for the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained in September 2017 and all those held in prison unlawfully; (c) Recommend, again, that KSA accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and (d) Refer the matter to the UN General Assembly for action to be taken against KSA for the continuing violations to hold the KSA authorities to account, and for remedies to be provided to the victims.

The report ultimately requests the General Assembly suspend Saudi Arabia’s membership to the UNHRC, stating the report provides enough evidence to justify such action.