Europe

Belgium sorry it helped get Saudi Arabia on UN rights panel

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel says it was a mistake for his nation to help vote Saudi Arabia onto a United Nations women's rights committee, arguing that the country does not respect gender equality.

Michel told parliament that last week's vote came unexpectedly and that a diplomat was forced into a hasty decision without proper consultations with the government in Brussels.

"If we could do it again and if we would have the chance to discuss it at government level, I of course would have argued that we not approve this," Michel said.

Saudi Arabia was backed by 47 of 54 nations.

"I regret the vote," Michel said.

The Geneva-based human rights organization UN Watch called Saudi Arabia "the world's most misogynistic regime."