End Iranian violations of human rights, Saudi Arabia tells UNHRC

The UNHRC must “put an end to Iranian violation of human rights, whether we are talking about violations against the Iranian people on the basis of racism or cross border violations."

February 28, 2019 02:05
2 minute read.
End Iranian violations of human rights, Saudi Arabia tells UNHRC

Iranians burn a U.S. flag during a protest against President Donald Trump's decision to walk out of a 2015 nuclear deal, in Tehran, Iran, May 11, 2018. . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The international community must take steps to halt Iranian violations of human rights and its support for terror militias, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said, as he addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

His speech was part of a series of statements he has made against Tehran both publicly and privately in recent weeks.

The UNHRC must “put an end to Iranian violation of human rights, whether we are talking about violations against the Iranian people on the basis of racism or cross border violations i.e., intervention or interference in the domestic affairs of the region, stoking sectarian strife by supporting terrorist militias,” Al-Jubeir said.

The Saudi foreign minister, along with his counterparts from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, spoke out against Iran at a closed-door panel at the Warsaw summit earlier this month.
That video was leaked to the media by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. Al-Jubeir also tweeted against Iran after the summit.

But while his country has stood with the United States in its battle against Iran, Al-Jubeir was one of a number of Arab diplomats at the UNHRC who pushed back against any attempts by US President Donald Trump to change the parameters of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump’s envoy at the Warsaw summit, Jared Kushner, spoke against the 2002 Saudi initiative, which calls for a two-state resolution to the conflict based on the pre-1967 lines, in exchange for normalized ties with the Arab world.

The Trump administration is expected to roll out its peace plan after Israel’s April 9 election.

Al-Jubeir told the UNHRC, “We categorically reject anything that would compromise the historical status of Jerusalem. We call upon all relevant bodies including this council to carry out their responsibility to defend the Palestinian people, including the right of self-determination.”

Saudi Arabia, Al-Jubeir said, “supports an independent state Palestinian state, according to the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital.” He spoke during the high level segment of the UNHRC’s 40th session, which opened on February 25 and is scheduled to end on March 22.

UAE Assistant Minister for Human Rights Ahmad Abdulrahman Al-Jarman also spoke of his country’s support for a Palestinian state at the pre-1967 lines.

“My country has constantly supported the Palestinian position. There must be global peace and stability with an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, Al-Quds and east Jerusalem as its capital in line with Security Council resolutions and other legal documents,” Al-Jarman said.

But the main drama of the day centered around Venezuela, whose foreign minister accused the United States of trying to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro, claiming that his country had lost $30 billion in assets “confiscated” since November 2017, including from the state oil company Citgo.

Jorge Arreaza, addressing the UNHRC despite a walk-out by dozens of Western envoys, suggested that Maduro and Trump meet to “try to find common ground and explain their differences.”

He told reporters that foreign powers supporting an aid caravan not authorized by the Venezuelan government were weaponizing humanitarian aid, and that his government was working with the UN and Red Cross to provide assistance amid widespread food and medicine shortages.

Diplomats also walked out of a disarmament conference in protest of a speech by Venezuelan official Felix Plasencia.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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