Amnesty criticizes Saudi human rights record

Amnesty criticizes Saudi human rights record
Thu Mar 20, 2014 07:55:15

The Amnesty International has warned that many of the reforms in Saudi Arabia have been vaguely worded promises to "consider" changes.

The kingdom was handed 225 recommendations at the 17th session of the Working Group of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

At the meeting of the 25th session of the UNHRC in Geneva on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia fully accepted 145, partially accepted 36, gave no answer to six, and rejected 38. The accepted recommendations included taking steps to phase out male guardianship for women.

In a statement on Wednesday, Amnesty International said despite Saudi Arabia's action, the kingdom had "rejected crucial recommendations to ratify core international treaties including those that would safeguard the rights of women and grant victims access to justice".

"Until Saudi Arabia's actions match its words the kingdom's dire reputation as a grave violator of human rights is unlikely to change," said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

"Saudi Arabia must prove that its acceptance of these recommendations is more than a mere public relations exercise designed to deflect criticism of its human rights record."

According to the Persian Gulf Research Center, Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly in defiance of international criticism.

Peaceful demonstrations and gatherings are banned and many people have been jailed merely for posting harmless messages on social media, it said.

A new vaguely-worded anti-terrorism law granting sweeping powers to the authorities, has raised fears of a renewed crackdown on peaceful dissent in the name of defending national security, the rights organization added.


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