A brief look at human rights violations: (part 3) Saudi Arabia
A brief look at human rights violations: (part...
it can be said that the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia has markedly deteriorated and there has been a renewed crackdown against human rights defenders, since the accession of Mohammad bin Salman as Crown Prince.The authorities severely restricted freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Many human rights defenders and critics were detained and some were sentenced to lengthy prison terms after unfair trials. Several Shi’a activists were executed, and many more were sentenced to death following grossly unfair trials before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC). Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common. Despite limited reforms, women faced systemic discrimination in law and practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence.
In this report we take a look at some human rights abuses in mid-May till first days of June.
1- According to human rights watch, Saudi authorities since May 15, 2018, detained a total of seven prominent women’s rights defenders. The activists have long advocated ending the ban on women driving and abolishing the discriminatory male guardianship system.
2- The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had an independent contractor review 12 Saudi high school textbooks for the current 2017-2018 academic school year. The books, numbering more than 2,000 pages and focusing only on religious subjects, are much more intolerant than the six religious books from 2012-2014 that were reviewed by USCIRF. They also reflect Wahhabi doctrines and no other trends of Islamic scholarship that are more accepting, some of which were represented in the 2012-2014 textbooks.
3- According to Reporters without borders, Saudi Arabia permits no independent media and tolerates no independent political parties, unions, or human rights groups. The level of self-censorship is extremely high and the Internet is the only space where freely-reported information and views may be able to circulate, albeit at great risk to the citizen-journalists who post online. Saudi Arabia’s ranking on the Press Freedom Index slipped from 168, last year (out of 180 countries) to 169 in 2018.
4- There has been a sharp increase in the practice of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in prisons and detention centres in Saudi Arabia. The recurrence of similar methods of torture across different prisons and detention centres strongly suggests that this increased use of torture is being methodically applied and that the torturers have a green light from the Saudi authorities.
5- the United States (US) Department of State (DoS) published its annual International Religious Freedom Report. report highlights ongoing structural and government-sanctioned discrimination against Saudi Arabia’s Shia Muslim community, including in both private and public sector employment as well as the freedom to engage in religious and cultural practices. Due to government regulations, Shia Muslims cannot build mosques outside of approved areas in the Eastern Province, where the kingdom’s Shia community is predominantly concentrated. Businesses discriminate against Shia Muslims in hiring practices and Shia are underrepresented in senior government and academic positions. Similarly, there are no Shia represented on the Council of Senior Scholars – the official body that advises the king on religious matters. Shia Muslims also face discrimination in the judicial system, where they are frequently subject to spurious terrorism charges stemming from the freedoms of religion, expression, assembly, and association.
6- According to European Parliament resolution on Women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia :
- Human rights situation in Saudi Arabia remains highly alarming, particularly with regards to lack of democratic rights, discrimination against women and the existence of corporal punishment and the death penalty.
- The Saudi authorities arrested a number of activists on Tuesday, May 15. And launched a series of raids and searches of activists’ homes and arbitrarily arrested them in a way intended to humiliate the detainees and frighten family members in their homes.
- The day the lifting of the ban on women driving was announced, officials working for the King threatened prominent women’s rights activists, warning them not to speak to the media.
- Arabia’s 13 million women and four million girls face severe discrimination in all aspects of their lives and Saudi Arabia ranked 138 out of 144 countries in the “The Global Gender Gap Report” published by the World Economic Forum.
- Most of the country’s prominent and independent human rights defenders have been imprisoned, or forced to flee the country.