(QHA) - Saudi Arabia won a seat on the U.N. Security Council for the first time, joining Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria, reports AFP.
All five countries stood unopposed in an election by the 193 member UN General Assembly. They will replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo on the 15-nation council on January 1.
"Security Council members are routinely called upon to address critical human rights and humanitarian issues," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based advocacy group that monitors the United Nations. "Saudi Arabia and Chad have abysmal records on human rights."
Saudi Arabia, which is also campaigning to be elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council,has repeatedly been slammed for its record on women's rights. Last month it topped a World Bank list of countries with laws that limit women's economic potential.
A senior Security Council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, welcomed the election of a key Middle East country as the world attempts to bring to an end a 2-1/2-year-old civil war in Syria that has killed more than 100,000.