A brief look at human rights violations:...
Saudi Arabia’s human rights situation has always been deteriorating and it has committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law not only in neighboring countries like Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain but inside its own territories as well. Riyadh has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. In this article we look at some human rights violations in Saudi Arabia during May 2019.
1- According to global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) , Saudi Arabia has been holding two Arab journalists for several months. Yemeni Marwan al-Muraisy has been missing since June 2018, and Jordanian Abdel Rahman Farhaneh, who had worked for Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television network, disappeared in February. It is unclear where the men are being held. The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
2- According to Middle East Eye, three prominent Sunni scholars, Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari, will be condemned to death and executed right after Ramadan in Saudi Arabia. No death sentence has been held yet, however the three scholars are all facing multiple charges on “terrorism”. The most prominent of the three is Sheikh Salman al-Odah, he is an international renowned scholar, considered a “reformist” by UN specialists and mainly known for his progressive views on Sharia and homosexuality.
The charges inflicted to al-Odah reflected the rule of law in Saudi Arabia, imposed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
3- One million domestic workers are employed in Saudi Arabia and many of them are facing harsh living and employment conditions under discriminatory laws, including the Kafala system (also known as the sponsorship system.) It allows employers to control workers’ travel, their ability to change employers or return home without an approval of their legal sponsorship (Kafeel). Otherwise, the worker might face arrest or deportation. On 09 May 2019, a Filipina maid who had been working for a wealthy Saudi family in Riyadh for several months, was tied to a tree to punish her after she allegedly left expensive furniture out in the sun. She has returned home to the Philippines with the help of her country’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
4- According to amnesty international’s report published on May 14th, in the last year Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech. “This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so - in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully,” said Lynn Maalouf. Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.
5- Saudi Arabia’s security forces killed eight alleged terrorists in a shootout in the predominantly Shiite eastern region of Qatif. The government’s statement described the group as a “terrorist cell” and accused them of planning to attack vital installations and security targets. The rights group Amnesty International said 11 of the men were convicted of terrorism-related crimes after a “grossly unfair trial.”
The U.N.’s human rights chief called the mass execution, which included three sentenced as minors, “shocking” and “abhorrent.”