United Nations / Jean-Marc Ferré

Should Saudi Arabia Be On The UN Human Rights Council?

Saudi Arabia has a lot of known human rights issues — so why is it on the United Nations Human Rights Council?

By Jake Godin | October 1, 2015

Saudi Arabia's human rights issues are no secret.

Which makes its appointment to lead a special United Nations Human Rights Council panel a bit ... odd.

Criticism has poured in, especially from UN Watch, a United Nations watchdog group. 

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"This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council that already counts Russia, Cuba, China, Qatar and Venezuela among its elected members," said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer. (Video via i24News)

The U.S. reaction was pretty much the opposite.

"Frankly ... We would welcome it. We're close allies," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said during a press conference. (Video via U.S. Department of State)

Some wonder why Saudi Arabia has a seat on the Human Rights Council at all.

And then there's this: Saudi Arabia may have colluded with the United Kingdom to get on the council.

Leaked documents from Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry suggest a "London-Riyadh vote trade" was made in 2013.

Basically, if the U.K. voted for Saudi Arabia to be on the council, then Saudi Arabia would vote for the U.K. 

So the question remains: Why is Saudi Arabia qualified to weigh in on human rights?

This video includes images from Getty Images.

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