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Saudi Arabia

    November 02, 2018

    The credibility of 193 UN member states will be on the line when the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record takes place in Geneva on Monday, Amnesty International said. 

    “UN member states must end their deafening silence on Saudi Arabia and do their duty of scrutinizing the cruelty in the kingdom in order to prevent further outrageous human rights violations in the country and in Yemen,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns.

    “The Saudi government’s long-standing repression of critics, exemplified by the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, has until recently been wilfully ignored by UN member states.

    “The gruesome death of Jamal Khashoggi has shown how far the Saudi Arabian authorities will go in their repression of peaceful dissent, a crackdown which has only intensified since Mohammad bin Salman became Crown Prince.”

    November 01, 2018

    One month ago, on October 2nd, Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. What happened next was a series of dramatic and horrifying events that unfolded as we watched in real time on our screens and smart phones from around the world. His friends, family, colleagues, activists, politicians, and concerned people from around the world asked, “Where is Jamal?”

    October 29, 2018
    Jake Tapper, Nick Kristof, Naomi Klein, Barkha Dutt, Mehdi Hasan, Hamid Mir and others read from Jamal Khashoggi’s last Washington Post column Amnesty International demands truth and accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

    Leading journalists from around the world pay tribute to Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who was murdered by Saudi state agents at the country’s consulate in Istanbul this month, by reading portions of his final Washington Post column in a video released today by Amnesty International.

    Jake Tapper of CNN, Nick Kristof of the New York Times, Indian journalist Barkha Dutt, Mehdi Hasan of Al-Jazeera English, Naomi Klein of The Intercept, Jason Rezaian of the Washington Post, Egyptian journalist Kareem Shaheen, Lebanese-Australian author and journalist Rania Abouzeid, Hamid Mir of Pakistan’s Geo News and Lebanese editor Rami Khouri all feature in the video.

    October 25, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the European Parliament has condemned the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following the killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi and called for an arms embargo, Covadonga de la Campa, Interim Director of the Amnesty International, EU Office, said:

    “The recent killing of Jamal Khashoggi has exposed the limits of silent diplomacy when faced with a sharp and sustained disregard for human rights. Amnesty International has documented scores of unlawful attacks committed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen, including indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes that have killed and injured civilians and destroyed scores of homes, schools, hospitals, markets and mosques.

    “Given the clear evidence that arms could be used to commit serious violations in Yemen, all arms-supplying states must suspend arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and its coalition members.

    October 25, 2018

    “It seems to be the only way to get the Government to finally do the right thing” - Rachel Logan

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will be intervening in an appeal over the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

    The case, which was originally brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), is seeking to test the legality of the Government’s decision to issue licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia despite the risk of the weapons being misused in the conflict in Yemen.

    Last year the High Court in London dismissed CAAT’s case, which had argued that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia should be halted because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. Among other things, the ruling (paragraph 209) discussed the significance of the “finely-balanced” nature of the decision said to be confronting officials and ministers.

    October 24, 2018

    It is appalling that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would stand behind a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, as the country’s atrocious list of human rights violations continues to grow.

    Yesterday, in the wake of the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trudeau said cancelling the $15-billion agreement to sell LAVs to Saudi Arabia would be too costly for Canadian taxpayers.

    Here is Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve’s response:

    - Human rights do not and can never be allowed to carry a price tag.  The people of Yemen do not deserve to be told that protecting their rights and doing everything Canada can do to avoid any degree of complicity in war crimes at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition that has caused so much suffering over the past three years is not worth $1 billion. There is nothing in Canada’s international human rights obligations that sets a financial limit on our responsibility to comply. Any other approach would be unconscionable.

    October 24, 2018

    Following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is once again under the global spotlight.

    Turkey’s President Erdogan said he believed the death of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul was a “savage murder”.

    But Khashoggi’s killing is only the latest in a long line of violations to add to the Kingdom’s appalling human rights record.

    1 - Devastating war in Yemen

    October 22, 2018

    By Kumi Naidoo

    The enforced disappearance and killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last seen entering the Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, shows just how brazen the Saudi authorities have become in crushing dissent.

    When Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist and political commentator, entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul to obtain personal documents earlier this month, he likely knew how dangerous it could be.

    Picking up documents from your consulate should not carry a risk to your life. However, given that Khashoggi was forced into self-exile following a wave of arrests targeting journalists, academics and activists last year, he likely knew that it would carry some risk. Saudi Arabia has now admitted that Khashoggi was killed at its Consulate.   

    This op-ed originally appeared on CNN and can be read in full here. 

    October 22, 2018

    By Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada

    Even as the truth about how Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 remains elusive, there is one vital lesson that Canada and the entire international community must already take to heart.

    The days of governments around the world enabling, ignoring, excusing or – at best – crying crocodile tears about Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human-rights record must at long last come to an end.

    Why is it that this particular case – the killing of one outspoken journalist, a critic of the Saudi regime, admittedly with a massive following in both social and traditional media – has been such a catalyzing moment that has gripped world attention for over two weeks now?

    October 20, 2018

    Responding to the Saudi public prosecution’s investigation findings revealing that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after a ‘fist-fight’ inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns said:

    “We are shocked and saddened by the dreadful news confirming the death of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate. The investigation findings by the Saudi authorities claiming that Khashoggi died as a result of a “fist-fight” inside the consulate are not trustworthy and marks an abysmal new low to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

    “We call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately produce Jamal Khashoggi’s body so an autopsy can be performed by independent forensic experts in accordance with international standards. They must similarly produce for independent investigation any other evidence they have on the killing of Khashoggi to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.

    October 07, 2018

    Responding to reports alleging that Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s Consulate in Istanbul, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said:

    “Reports that a team flew in from Saudi Arabia expressly to carry out a ‘planned murder’ in the Consulate are cause for extreme alarm after Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance since entering the building on 2 October.

    “If true, this would be an abysmal new low. Such an assassination within the grounds of the Consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution. This case sends a shockwave among Saudi Arabian human rights defenders and dissidents everywhere, eroding any notion of seeking safe haven abroad.

    October 05, 2018

    Responding to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist whose whereabouts remain unknown since he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul this past Tuesday, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said:

    “The Saudi authorities must immediately disclose the evidence supporting their claim that Jamal Khashoggi left the consulate last Tuesday, otherwise their claims are utterly baseless and only exacerbate suspicions that they are indeed detaining him in what would amount to an enforced disappearance. If that is indeed the case, they must immediately release him, and the Turkish authorities must ensure he is not forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia.

    “Khashoggi went into self-exile in September 2017, amidst an ongoing wave of arrests of human rights defenders, clerics, economists, bloggers – and practically any person daring to criticise the authorities. If returned to Saudi Arabia, Jamal Khashoggi would be in serious danger given the pattern of flagrantly unfair trials that have been leading to long prison sentences and even the death penalty.

    August 23, 2018

    The ongoing arbitrary detention of several women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia is outrageous, Amnesty International said today, as three prominent activists reach 100 days of being held without charge.

    Since May, at least 12 leading human rights activists in Saudi Arabia have been detained without charge. Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were all imprisoned on 15 May and today (23 August) marks 100 days since their detention.

    “It is absolutely outrageous that so many brave human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia are still being held without charge – apparently for simply speaking out against injustice,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns.

    “They have been detained without charge and with no legal representation for more than three months. This must not go on any longer. The world cannot carry on looking the other way as this relentless persecution of those who stand up for human rights in Saudi Arabia continues.”

    August 08, 2018
    Demand freedom for women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia

    By Alex Neve
    Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Last week, two prominent and courageous women’s rights activists, Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada, were arrested in Saudi Arabia.

    No one imagined that on top of the personal injustice for Samar and Nassima that their arrest was going to spark a major diplomatic stand-off between Canada and Saudi Arabia about human rights.  And in doing so, put Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record in the international spotlight in ways that it rarely is.

    Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada are, sadly, two more in a growing list of women human rights defenders arrested and jailed in Saudi Arabia over the past three months. That includes Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, imprisoned since mid-May.  Loujain has strong Canadian connections, as she is a graduate of the University of British Columbia.  

    August 06, 2018

    Responding to Saudi Arabia’s announcement, on August 5th, of diplomatic and trade measures against Canada, in retaliation for recent Canadian government calls for prisoners of conscience to be freed in the country, Amnesty International Canada said the aggressive action points to an urgent need for greater international pressure for genuine and lasting human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.

    Measures announced include the recall of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador from Canada, a demand that Canada’s Ambassador leave Saudi Arabia within 24 hours and a suspension of new trade and investment.  Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry accused Canada of “overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs” of the country.  The move came following a tweet three days earlier from Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, indicating that Canada was, “Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi’s sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.”


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