“ If there are legitimate human rights concerns in relation to Saudi Arabia, we raise them. In relation to the actions in Yemen, we want the incidents to be properly investigated. But I want to reiterate that our relationship with Saudi Arabia is a particularly important relationship,” Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister May refused to say if she will withdraw backing for Saudi Arabian membership of the UN Human Rights Council despite the kingdom’s responsibility for airstrikes and human rights violations in Yemen, including the bombing of a funeral that killed 140 people in the capital Sanaa this month.
“Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is an important relationship in relation to the security of the UK and counterterrorism and foiling activities of those, who would wish citizens’ harm in the the UK,” May said replying to the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who raised the question about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, and cited concerns from Amnesty International over executions, discrimination against women and torture in the country.
In June 2016, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called the UN to suspend Saudi Arabia’s membership rights on the UNHRC because of the country’s implication in numerous violations of international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabia is expected to be re-elected to the UNHRC for the fourth time this week. Earlier, the UN came under fire for handing the kingdom a key role in UN human rights panel.