Saturday, May 19, 2018

What Women's Rights?

Saudi authorities have arrested seven prominent women’s rights advocates. The detainees rounded up since 15 May include Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef and Eman al-Nafjan, women who have long opposed the driving ban.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ‘reform campaign’ has been a frenzy of fear for genuine Saudi reformers who dare to advocate publicly for human rights or women’s empowerment,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It appears the only ‘crime’ these activists committed was wanting women to drive before Mohammed bin Salman did,” she said.

Saudi activists say social change will only be cosmetic without dismantling the kingdom’s guardianship system.

 Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said: 
“This is an extremely worrying development for women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian authorities’ endless harassment of women’s rights defenders is entirely unjustifiable. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has presented himself as a ‘reformer’, but his promises of reform seem entirely superficial as the repression of human rights activists continues unabated." She continued, "Saudi Arabia cannot continue to publicly proclaim support for women’s rights and other reforms, while targeting women human rights defenders and activists for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. We are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all activists who may still be detained solely for their human rights work.”

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