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During a discussion of Item 4 at the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, France’s UN ambassador in Geneva, François Gave, stressed that countries must carry out all of their obligations, especially those which they voluntarily took on.
Gave noted that the death penalty remains widespread around the world, and he called on countries still using the death penalty, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to end the practice, especially when used in a retaliatory fashion.
France’s position comes after ambiguous statements related to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia and its abolition against minors, 13 of whom remain under threat of execution, and indicates a lack of trust in these positions.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia has a proven track record of violating its commitments, particularly the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the past, the country has also intentionally misled special rapporteurs by falsifying facts, as clearly occurred in the case of Saudi national Haydar Al Leif, whom Saudi Arabia claimed it had sentenced to prison before it executed him.