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Groups Urge UN To Suspend Saudis From Human Rights Council

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations to suspend Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council until a Saudi-led coalition stops killing civilians in Yemen.

"Saudi Arabia has amassed an appalling record of violations in Yemen," Philippe Bolopion, HRW's deputy director, said on June 29. "Saudi Arabia is in a league of its own...getting away with murder in a way that no other country has been able to do."

A Saudi-led coalition began an air campaign in Yemen in March 2015 to defeat Huthi rebels.

The two rights groups said they documented 69 unlawful air strikes, some of which may amount to war crimes, that killed at least 913 civilians.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir dismissed the accusations as "outrageous," telling reporters in Paris that "the coalition is very cautious in selecting targets. We do not harm civilians."

The UN General Assembly can suspend a state from the Human Rights Council for committing gross and systematic violations of human rights.

The UN blacklisted the Saudi coalition this month for killing children in Yemen. However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon heeded Saudi protests and removed the coalition from the blacklist pending review.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP