Abdullah Al-Hamid (left), with fellow 2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureates Waleed Abu Al-Khair (centre) and Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani (right). Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Ahmed al-Osaimi (Blurred from Original)

The UN must take action to stop human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia

News 27.03.2024

Right Livelihood, ALQST for Human Rights and MENA Rights Group highlighted the persistent human rights violations in Saudi Arabia during the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The statement focused on the absence of civic freedoms, a formal constitution, and a criminal code in the country’s governance structure.

You can read the entire statement here.

Despite the global progress towards upholding human rights, Saudi Arabia continues to repress human rights defenders, most commonly through harsh treatment and unjust imprisonment. 

In the statement, Right Livelihood and its partners warned the Council of the country’s draconian counter-terrorism and cybercrime laws used to curb dissent and the fundamental right to peacefully protest.

Right Livelihood Laureate Waleed Abu al-Khair, who is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence, has been victimised by such laws, as well as tortured and subjected to inhumane treatment. 

“Abu al-Khair… has been routinely subjected to beatings and solitary confinement. We deplore his transfer, in October 2023,  to the maximum security wing of al-Ha’ir Prison, for refusing to undergo a ‘rehabilitation programme,’” we told the Council.

Unfortunately, Abu al-Khair is not the only Saudi Laureate being targeted by the regime. His fellow Laureate Mohammad al-Qahtani has been held incommunicado since October 2022. His case exemplifies the alarming trend of extending sentences or subjecting released activists to enforced disappearance.

We can not overlook the deterioration of human rights in Saudi Arabia, we told the Council. More specifically, we must pressure the Saudi regime to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, cease the persecution of peaceful activists and release all human rights defenders.

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