Saudi Arabia
Middle East & North Africa

HRC56: NGOs call on Saudi Arabia to implement key UPR recommendations

At the 56th session of the Human Rights Council adoption of the UPR outcome on Saudi Arabia, Lina Al-Hathloul delivered a joint statement on behalf of ALQST for Human Rights, ISHR and Global Citizen. Read and watch the statement below:

Our organisations ALQST for Human Rights, ISHR and Global Citizen express their disappointment at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the most important recommendations received from a number of countries in the Universal Periodic Review.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejected recommendation number 65 from Belgium, which states: ‘Refrain from reprisals against human rights defenders for interactions with UN human rights mechanisms.’

Does my government’s refusal translate into a violation of international agreements and an implicit acknowledgment of its readiness to target anyone interacting with the United Nations, including myself, and also my sister Loujain Al-Hathloul, whose court documents show that our government is targeting her because of her interaction with the United Nations?

We also express our disappointment at the rejection of recommendation number 116, which urges the authorities to release all protesters, human rights defenders and journalists detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The authorities say that they reject the recommendations because some of them represent false allegations based on unreliable sources, and some of them contradict the Kingdom’s values ​​and principles.

Given the number of opinions issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention confirming that there are many arbitrary detentions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the authorities did not reject this recommendation on the grounds that it is invalid, but rather on the basis of their unwillingness to resolve this issue.

We hope that the authorities will review this rejection and consider it as a matter of urgency. It is important that the authorities seriously evaluate and resolve this issue that has tarnished their reputation and made our people live in constant fear.

Finally, why was recommendation number 117 rejected regarding abolishing the travel ban imposed on human rights defenders who have completed their prison sentences? If the authorities are serious about reforms and opening up, all these restrictions must be lifted and repression against human rights activists must end.

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