David Cameron defends human rights ‘deal’ with Saudi Arabia
Prime Minister David Cameron has been challenged over an alleged ‘deal’ that saw Saudi Arabia join and head up the UN’s Human Rights Council.
The Saudi kingdom is is one of the most repressive regimes in the world, with gay people facing the death penalty, women facing legal discrimination, and extreme curbs on free speech.
However, despite its poor rights record, the United Nations elected Saudi Arabia’s ambassador Faisal bin Hassan Trad to chair the UN Human Rights Council last month, after they were allowed to join the Council last year.
Activists attacked the “scandalous” appointment – but David Cameron has defended the UK’s reputation over an alleged ‘deal’ with the country to secure a seat.
In a sit-down interview with Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, the news anchor challenged him over links with Saudi Arabia.
Mr Snow asked: “That’s curious, because we in November did a deal with the Saudis that we would back them joining the human rights council of the United Nations, providing they backed us. Now this sounds a bit squalid for one of the most human rights abusing regimes on earth.”
The Conservative PM replied: ” Saudi Arabia is a member of the United Nations but we completely disagree with them.
“We completely disagree with them about their punishment routines, about the death penalty, about those issues.”
Mr Snow hit back: “Why did we do this deal then? They’re not the right sort of people to be doing any sort of deal on human rights.”
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 6, 2015
When Mr Cameron said “We totally oppose their record in this area”, the news anchor retorted: “But why did we do it?”
The PM said: “We have a relationship with Saudi Arabia, and if you want to know why, I’ll tell you why. It’s because we recieve from them very important intelligence and security information that keeps us safe.”