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Saudi Arabia elected onto major UN bodies

April 24, 2020 at 3:05 pm

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman during a press conference in Riyadh, on 25 April 2019 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia is now a member of two key UN bodies following electronic elections held yesterday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported.

With the backing of UN member states, the Gulf Kingdom has acquired a seat on the Science and Technology Development Committee from next year until 2024, and another on the Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice between 2021 and 2023.

According to the SPA, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, said that the seats were well-deserved due to the efforts that Saudi Arabia is leading on in a variety of fields and industries. Its election, he claimed, proves Saudi Arabia’s distinguished standing and relations within the international community.

The election of the Kingdom onto the two bodies is seen as particularly important as an acknowledgement of its contribution to and leverage in the international community. It is also another step towards achieving the aims set out in its Vision 2030 programme being led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the de facto ruler.

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Concerns have been raised about this latest move, because it entrenches Saudi Arabia’s position within the UN. It already has a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) despite many condemnations of its serious human rights violations over a number of years.

In 2018, for example, Saudi officials murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. It has also carried out a record number of executions and continues to detain political opponents, while not showing any reluctance to use the death penalty even against minors.