Did Saudi buy its seat on the UN Human Rights Council?

An official cable from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Saudi mission to the UN ordered the transfer of $100,000 to be used for a “campaign” to win Saudi a seat on the Human Rights Council.

In addition, a separate correspondence from the Saudi to Russian mission promises to support Russia’s candidacy to the Council if they reciprocate in kind.

Saudi, which recently carried out its 100th beheading this year, did end up securing the seat. A questionable victory, given its abysmal human rights record at home as well as the Kingdom’s current controversial military campaign in Yemen. The Kingdom, which began an aerial-bombing campaign in Yemen more than three months ago, has enforced a strict blockade of Yemen’s ports, keeping out fuel needed for the local population’s survival in violation of the laws of war, according to Human Rights Watch.

A few questions come to mind. Is it normal practice at the UN for countries to fund “campaigns” to win UN seats? What exactly does campaigning for a UN seat entail since marketing campaigns, at least in the traditional sense, do not exist at the UN – countries are elected by the majority of General Assembly members “through direct and secret ballot.”

Where did these funds end up?

Source: Saudi Cables

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