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UK official defends Saudis rights record

Tobias Ellwod, a member of the UK government has defended the human rights record of Saudi Arabia.

A member of the UK’s Conservative government has defended the human rights record of Saudi Arabia.

Tobias Ellwod who is parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs said Saudi Arabia’s attitude to human rights cannot be changed overnight adding that any progress would need to move at a pace that is acceptable to the country’s society.

As part of his effort to justify Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 people including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr-al-Nimr, he went on saying that “founded just under 100 years ago, Saudi Arabia is a relatively young country and we recognize change cannot happen overnight. The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia reflects widely held conservative social values and as such needs to move at a pace that is acceptable to its society.”

He noted that the UK maintains that it is more effective to work with other countries to improve and reform their systems, rather than criticize from the sidelines.

Insisting that the UK’s position on human rights in Saudi Arabia was a matter of public record, he said: “Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights priority country.”

“I’m not surprised at all by the British minister’s response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of people when taking into consideration this fact that Britain is not genuinely committed to human rights on the international stage,” a London-based political analyst Marcus Papadopoulos told Press TV.

He went on saying that if the UK were genuinely committed to human rights, it would not have  such a close relation with Saudi Arabia and this means that the UK has adopted a double standard when it comes to human rights.  

The Saudi regime said Saturday it had executed Sheikh Nimr along with 46 others, causing international outrage and a serious escalation of diplomatic tensions in the region.

Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.

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