Saudi Arabia| Stop Funding War, Free Saudi Activists


For most citizens worldwide, the idea that their governments are facilitating arms sales by unscrupulous corporations, hereby sustaining a war that kills and starves thousands of innocent people, including children, is simply unbearable. ISHR joins Women’s March Global and their Coalition in a campaign calling for an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the immediate release of Saudi activists. 

ISHR and a coalition of NGOs including Women’s March Global, the Gulf Center for Human Rights and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, have been advocating for the immediate and unconditional release of women human rights defenders arrested in Saudi Arabia since May 2018. However, the Saudi Arabian government has continued to silence and oppress women human rights defenders while leading the war in Yemen, resulting in the deaths of thousands from injury, starvation and disease.

As responsible global citizens, we must call on our governments to demand the release of Saudi activists and to stop facilitating arms sales to Saudi Arabia by unscrupulous corporations.

Over 10,000 Yemeni civilians have been injured or killed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes. According to the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, wedding ceremonies, detention facilities, boats and medical facilities.

Perhaps most alarming is the fact that Saudi Arabia has purchased more than $2.6 trillion worth of arms from USA, France, and the United Kingdom, among other countries - all the while most citizens in the arm-selling countries have expressed their strong opposition to arms sales, for example in BritainFrance and Canada. It is imperative that governments stop facilitating the provision of deadly arms to Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, at least 15 Saudi women’s rights activists have been jailed since May 2018 for demanding an end to the male guardianship system, a system that renders women legal minors. Furthermore, these activists have been banned from accessing lawyers and many have been unable to speak to worried family and friends.

“Civilians are bearing the brunt of the war in Yemen. Countries providing arms to Saudi Arabia should not risk complicity in international crimes,” says Salma El Hosseiny, ISHR's Human Rights Council Advocate. “We are calling on all countries who haven't yet stopped their arms sales to Saudi Arabia, to do so immediately". 

Women’s March Global and their Coalition partners (ISHR, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights Bahrain (ADHRB), Gulf Center for Human Rights) are asking citizens worldwide to follow these four steps:

  1. Email the contacts listed on the Women’s March Global campaign page using the email template provided.
  2. Bcc so the number of emails can be tracked.
  3. Share the action on your social media channels.
  4. Sign the petition calling on the United Nations to hold Saudi Arabia accountable.

Citizens and civil society are our best hope of a better and more peaceful world. We need to unite and put pressure on our governments so they act responsibly.

Illustration: Women's March Global Coalition


  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • Women's rights and WHRD
  • Saudi Arabia