Discrimination against the Shi’a minority remained entrenched. He was the founder of Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association and was arrested in 2013 for a peaceful protest. Her sister Lina told The Telegraph that she did not ask for her freedom, but only a regular voice call with her parents to let them know that she hasn't disappeared. Because there are minor differences between the way that Shiites and Sunnis pray and between prayer times, Shiites are forced to either pray the Sunni way or take a break from work. The woman, Hanadi al-Hindi works for Saudi Prince Al Waleed. But his case is just the tip of the iceberg for the Gulf Kingdom’s appalling human rights record. He was convicted on charges concerning his peaceful criticism of the human rights situation in his country. [85][86], In 2017, a royal decree was issued to allowing women to drive. [1] The totalitarian regime ruling the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is consistently ranked among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights. In the late 1990s, the government started to recognize World AIDS Day and allowed information about the disease to be published in newspapers. Meanwhile, the authorities continued their crackdown on irregular migrants. In 1988 fatwas passed by the country's leading cleric, Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz denounced the Shias as apostates. The report also revealed abuses committed by the Saudi Arabian authorities or non-state actors associated with it against other dissidents abroad, abduction, enforced disappearance, threats, harassment and electronic surveillance, as well as psychological threats targeting the families of detained activists.[4]. Saudi Arabia has also not provided humanitarian help to trapped citizens of Awamiyah. Sophia the robot, made by American firm Hanson Robotics, has been officially named a citizen of Saudi Arabia — the first country in the world to grant a robot the right to citizenship. However, on October 2004, the Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz declared that "I don't think that women's participation is possible." [260], The Human Rights Commission is a government organization established in September 2005. [5] In the 2000s, it was reported that women were sentenced to lashes for adultery; the women were actually victims of rape, but because they could not prove who the perpetrators were, they were deemed guilty of committing adultery. [240] The Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia was created in 2007 and is also unlicensed. She was arrested along with her 28-year-old daughter from their apartment in Jeddah on March 1, 2019. [221], On 21 June 2020, The Guardian reported that a Human Rights activist and Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, who is currently living in Canada, was warned by the Canadian authorities that he could be targeted by the government of Saudi Arabia. In April 2011, during the 2011–2012 Saudi Arabian protests, the kingdom made it a crime to publish any criticism harming the reputation of government or religious leaders, or which harms the interests of the state. The Special Rapporteur found “credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s”. She was duct taped and forcibly repatriated to Saudi Arabia, where she feared her family would kill her. However, it is part of the Human Rights council. Apartheid, Saudi Style, New York Post, May 22, 2003. [7], In 2009, Mazen Abdul-Jawad was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and five years in prison for bragging on a Saudi TV show about his sexual exploits.[9][10]. Census data does not identify any Jews as residing within Saudi Arabian territory. Among other things, these. Saad Al-Jabri was a close ally and advisor of the former crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Nayef. During Ramadan, eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours is not allowed. [15][16][17][18][19], According to Amnesty International, security forces continued to torture and ill- treat detainees to extract confessions to be used as evidence against them at trial. [246][247], Sixteen people who tried to create a human rights organization in 2007 were arrested in February 2007, charged in August 2010, and convicted on 22 November 2011 of "forming a secret [organization], attempting to seize power, incitement against the King, financing terrorism, and money laundering" and sentenced by the Specialized Criminal Court to 5–30 years' imprisonment, to be followed by travel bans. Those who remained at risk of execution at the end of the year included other individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged offence. [119], As an Islamic state, Saudi Arabia gives preferential treatment for Muslims. Saudi authorities – in some cases with the help of citizens – rounded up many illegal workers and physically abused them. The Saudi delegation responded defending "legal traditions" held since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago and rejected interference in its legal system. But court filings show some executed men protested their innocence", "Saudi executions: Dozens killed included some arrested as juveniles", "Saudi Arabia scraps execution for those who committed crimes as minors: Commission", "Boxed In — Women and Saudi Arabia's Male Guardianship System", Public Debate in Saudi Arabia on Employment Opportunities for Women, "The Australian who has become a prisoner of gender apartheid", "After Saudi Teen Granted Aslyum, A Look At Life For Women In The Kingdom", "Saudi woman activist demands right to travel", "Thousands of Saudis sign petition to end male guardianship of women", "Mohammed bin Salman Is Running Saudi Arabia Like a Man Who Got Away With Murder", "Saudi Arabian women can now drive — here are the biggest changes they've seen in just over a year", "Women in the Middle East, A weak breeze of change", "Saudi prince assures RP govt they respect rights of women", "Saudi women get ID cards for GCC travel", "Women married to foreigners can now sponsor kids, spouse", ". [102], On 8 October, 2020, the European Parliament raised concerns, after it was revealed in an investigation that Saudi Arabia is holding tens of thousands of African migrants in hellish conditions in detention centers. [11], In 2016, a Saudi man was sentenced to 2,000 lashes, ten years in prison and a fine of 20,000 riyals (US$5,300) for making tweets critical of Islam, and denying the existence of God. On May 25, 2020, HRW urged Saudi authorities to immediately inform of Omar and Sarah's whereabouts to their relatives and release them. [3][4], Saudi Arabia is one of approximately 30 countries in the world with judicial corporal punishment. Regarded on a par with terrorists, atheists in Saudi Arabia suffer imprisonment, marginalisation, slander, ostracisation and even execution.   |   [164], In August 2017, it was reported that the Saudi government demolished 488 buildings in Awamiyah. Kutbi's lawyer and son said half the sentence was suspended, but that he was also banned from writing for 15 years and travelling abroad for five, and fined US$26,600. Since 2009, women and their male supporters have been organizing an anti male-guardianship campaign. [citation needed] The number of people living in the kingdom who were infected was a closely guarded secret. Where the country was under a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, these migrant workers were left helpless with no jobs. Women first joined the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia in 2013, occupying thirty seats. Privacy Policy [185], In 2008, a prominent Saudi blogger and reformist, Fouad al-Farhan, was jailed for posting comments online that were critical of Saudi business, religious and media figures, signifying a move by the government to step up its censorship of the Internet within its borders. He was arrested on April 8, 2020, for posting a video on social media and calling for equal human rights in Saudi Arabia. However, the Shia minority is still marginalized on a large scale. Foreign men married to Saudi women were also granted the right to work in the private sector in Saudi Arabia while on the sponsorship of their wives on condition that the title on their iqamas should be written as "husband of a Saudi wife" and that they should have valid passports enabling them to return to their homes at any time. There is no "true citizen" in Saudi Arabia. The rules which govern the Saudi Arabian nationality shall be defined by the law. In December, the Public Prosecution announced that eight individuals suspected of involvement in the murder had been convicted; five were sentenced to death and three to prison terms. Among those targeted was Omar Abdulaziz, a prominent Saudi Arabian dissident residing in Canada. SAUDI ARABIA 2018 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is both head of state and head of government. [204], On February 1, 2020, Abdulrahman Almutairi, a Saudi dissident, was given asylum in Los Angeles after he claimed that the Saudi kingdom attempted to kidnap him from the US, as a result of his criticism of the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Saudi Arabian government officials and state religious leaders often promote the idea that Jews are conspiring to take over the entire world; as proof of their claims, they publish and frequently cite The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as factual. It was unclear whether the children would be excused from 10-year prison terms. [207], On June 8, 2020, the Human Rights Watch documented that Saudi authorities have arbitrarily detained a Yemeni blogger and human rights activist, Mohamad al-Bokari, being held in al-Malaz prison in Riyadh. [50] Women are prohibited from certain professions (such as optometry) and may be prohibited from mixing with men at work, but according to the government as of 2017 compose 30% of workers in the private sector[58] (which is 40% of GDP). [196][197], On July 15, 2015, Saudi Arabian writer and commentator Zuhair Kutbi was sentenced to four years in prison without clear charges following an interview at the Rotana Khaleejia TV channel in which he discussed his ideas for peaceful reform in Saudi Arabia to become a constitutional monarchy, and talked about combatting religious and political repression. They were advocating for the right to drive for women in Saudi. The rights of Saudi citizens have long been a subject of controversy in the international community. According to the report, Saudi Arabia uses its terrorism tribunal and counterterrorism law to unjustly prosecute human rights defenders, writers, and peaceful critics. [28], On 19 November 2020, based on the report exclusively shared by human rights charity, Grant Liberty, the Independent reported human rights violations endured by women’s rights activists and political prisoners in Saudi Arabian jails. In 2005, adult male citizens were allowed to vote for some municipal seats, although plans for future elections, which may include adult women, have been put on hold indefinitely. The religious institutions from government clerics to judges, to religious curriculums, and all religious instructions in media are restricted to the Wahhabi understanding of Islam, adhered to by less than 40% of the population. [243][244] Al-Bejadi was charged in the Specialized Criminal Court in August 2011 for "insurrection against the ruler, instigating demonstrations, and speaking with foreign [media] channels. The legislature and the executive are selected by the king and the judges are also appointed by him. [249], The Society for Development and Change was created in September 2011[250] and campaigns for equal human rights for Shia in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. [140], Amir Taheri quotes a Shi'ite businessman from Dhahran as saying "It is not normal that there are no Shi'ite army officers, ministers, governors, mayors and ambassadors in this kingdom. [213] In the previous September, Khashoggi had fled Saudi Arabia after the arrests of other Saudi intellectuals, clerics and activists, fearing that he too would be arrested or banned from travelling. The authorities continued to arrest, prosecute and imprison human rights defenders for their peaceful activities and human rights work under, among other legislation, the counter-terrorism law and the cybercrime law, which criminalizes online criticism of government policies and practice as well as commentary on current affairs. By Hakim Khatib In Saudi Arabia, human rights are based off the Hanbali Islamic religious laws, which are under absolute rule of the Saudi royal family.Due to the strict regime of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, human rights in the nation have been ranked some of the worst in the world. [29], Saudi Arabia regularly engages in capital punishment, including public executions by beheading. [58] It also granted divorced women the ability to retain custody of children without petitioning. [289], On 2 October 2020, Human Rights Watch said, Saudi Arabia implemented a deflect strategy to change the country’s image of a pervasive human rights violator. Five of the accused were sentenced to 20 years in prison, one was sentenced for 10 years and the remaining two were each sentenced to 7 years in prison. The authorities implemented major reforms to the repressive male guardianship system, including allowing women to obtain passports, travel without the permission of a male guardian and become heads of households; however, women continued to face systematic discrimination in law and practice in other areas and remained inadequately protected against sexual and other violence. However, in 2003 the government announced the number of known cases of HIV/AIDS in the country to be 6,700, and over 10,000 in June 2008. They also demanded to end their travel bans and stop using them as tokens against Jabri. It is reported that the Saudi government insisted that Jewish religious services not be held on their soil but that Jewish soldiers be flown to nearby US warships. The reforms did not allow women to marry without the permission of a guardian or to provide consent for her children to marry. Homosexuality is frequently a taboo subject in Saudi Arabian society and is punished with imprisonment, corporal punishment and capital punishment. Here are ten ways Saudi Arabia is violating its citizens’ human rights: 1. The main aim of this ban is to protect labors from being directly exposed to the sun and high-temperature. [254][255] ALQST is a Saudi human rights organisation created in August 2014 by Yahya Assiri, with a Saudi-based team for collecting evidence and a London-based team for reports and human rights campaigning. Among the 37 were 11 convicted of spying for Iran. “Over 30 times the Saudi authorities have told me to meet them in the Saudi embassy but I have refused every time. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. The punishment included a five-year prison term and a fine of 3 million riyals (US$800,000). Today, only the Green Party of Saudi Arabia remains, although it is an illegal organization. [34] In 2005 there were 191 executions, in 2006 there were 38, in 2007 there were 153, and in 2008 there were 102. They continued to need a male guardian’s permission to leave shelters for those who had experienced domestic abuse. [267], Saudi Arabia lost its bid to win a seat at the UN Human Rights Council – a 47-seat body that claims to protect and promote human rights on the world scale. Saudi Arabia remained a member of the coalition imposing economic and political sanctions on Qatar, along with Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Some Saudi men have also used contracted "temporary marriages" in countries such as Mauritania, Yemen, and Indonesia as a means by which to sexually exploit migrant workers. [287], On 15 September 2020, Germany spoke at the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of the European Union, demanding for the release of human rights activists jailed in Saudi Arabia and the arrest and prosecution of Jamal Khashoggi’s killers to bring justice to The Washington Post journalist. The authorities continued to arbitrarily detain human rights defenders for prolonged periods without bringing them before a judge or charging them. The country holds a reservation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child against any provisions that are in conflict with sharia law;[113] Article 14 gives freedom of "thought, conscience and religion" to children. [73], During April and May 2020, Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who has been imprisoned for the past fourteen months, expected to be granted mercy and released, but wasn't. Detainees were held incommunicado and denied access to their families. Saudi Arabia remains a key economic and security ally of the United Kingdom. [138] Shiites are disqualified as witnesses in court, as Saudi Sunni sources cite the Shi'a practise of 'Taqiyya'- wherein it is permissible to lie while they are in fear or at risk of significant persecution. Others were executed following unfair trials in previous years. [76] The motoring ban was not in statute law, but was an "informal" religious fatwa imposed by conservative Muslim clerics[77] in order to maintain the country's tradition of gender segregation, although this religious view has changed in recent years. Men and women from Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and many other countries voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled labourers, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude. Others said that they had been forced to work without pay. Dr. Thurayya Obeid was named Deputy Chairwoman of the Human Rights and Petitions Committee, Dr. Zainab Abu Talib, Deputy Chairwoman of the Information and Cultural Committee, and Dr. Lubna Al-Ansari, Deputy Chairwoman of the Health Affairs and Environment Committee.[62]. Moreover, there is also some type of segregation at homes, such as different entrances for men and women.[54]. The torture of these prisoners was also found to be prevalent.[189]. [194], In July 2015, Waleed Abulkhair, a prominent human rights lawyer, founder of Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia and recipient of 2012 of the Palm prize for human rights, was sentenced to 15 years of prison by a special criminal court in Riyadh for vague offences such as "setting up an unlicensed organization. [114][115][116], Saudi Arabia and the apartheid[118] analogy is a comparison of Saudi Arabia's treatment of minorities and non-Muslim foreigners with South Africa's treatment of non-whites during its apartheid era, or the description of Saudi treatment of women under Sharia Law with the concept of Gender apartheid. Neither the Government nor society in general accepts the concepts of separation of religion and state, and such separation does not exist. [39] Most of the executed belonged to the country's Shia minority. Refunds of donations. The presence of powerful businesswomen—still a rare sight—in some of these groups helps get them heard. Women and girls remained inadequately protected from sexual and other forms of violence. Saudi Arabia is still ruled by the Al-Saud dynasty, and, together with the clergy that supports it, continues to impose on its citizens an extremely dogmatic interpretation of Islam. In the same vein, the Head of the [192] He had been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for "insulting Islam", but this sentence was changed to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison, and additionally a fine of 1,000,000 Saudi riyals. "[173] In 2009 the Saudi "religious police" established a special "Anti-Witchcraft Unit" to educate the public, investigate and combat witchcraft. The UN special rapporteur Agnès Callamard said that the Mohammed bin Salman remained "well protected against any kind of meaningful scrutiny in his country" and called the verdict a "parody of justice". Arrests are on the rise and the penalty can be as severe as death", "World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Saudi Arabia", "Documentation of Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia", "Saudi official: why popular blogger Farhan was jailed", "Saudi Man Arrested For Sexually Suggestive YouTube Video (VIDEO)", "Saudi website editor could face death for apostasy-rights group", "Saudi Court Condemns Editor to 600 Lashes With Breaks", "Saudi Arabia: Website Editor Facing Death Penalty | Human Rights Watch", "Saudi novelist arrested for tweets criticizing Islam", "Detained Saudi writer Turki Al Hamad freed", "Saudi Arabia: Free Prominent Rights Activist", "Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam", "Saudi court sentences Palestinian poet to death for apostasy: HRW", "Saudi Arabia 'jails reformist writer Zuhair Kutbi, "Saudi Arabia: Prominent Writer Detained – Discussed Peaceful Reform in TV Interview", "PressTV-Saudi Arabia steps up repression in 2017: HRW", "Saudi Arabia: Intensified Repression of Writers, Activists", "3 Saudi Human Rights Activists Awarded 'Alternative Nobel, "Guardian told it was target of Saudi hacking unit after Khashoggi killing", "L.A.-based dissident claims he was target of kidnapping attempt by Saudi Arabia", "Revealed:Saudis suspected of phone spying campaign in US", "Saudi Arabia: Rights Pioneer Dies in Prison", "Jamal Khashoggi Wasn't the First — Saudi Arabia Has Been Going After Dissidents Abroad for Decades", "Forcibly repatriated Saudi woman: 'My family will kill me, "Death threats for Sydney activist behind Saudi women's driving breakthrough", "Jamal Khashoggi: All you need to know about Saudi journalist's death", "Journalist Detained in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul", "Friends fear for safety of prominent Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi", "Jamal Khashoggi: Mystery over missing Saudi journalist deepens", "Saudi Arabia sentences five to death for murder of Jamal Khashoggi", "Saudi court sentences eight to prison but commutes death sentences in killing of Jamal Khashoggi", "Saudi Arabia: Partial Criminal Justice Revision", "Saudis Impatient For King's Promised 'Reforms, "Exclusive: Saudi dissident warned by Canadian police he is a target", "Saudi Arabia's political prisoners: towards a third decade of silence", "Saudi Arabia: Renewed Protests Defy Ban", "Saudi anti-regime protesters stage rallies in Riyadh, Mecca", "Saudi protesters call for prisoners' release", "Saudi Arabia: Dispensing a Peaceful Demonstration after Assaulting Prisoner's Wife and Four of Her Children due to A video Segment", "Saudi Arabia show of force stifles 'day of rage' protests", "Dissident Saudi royal claims he was targeted with plan to 'disappear him' just days before journalist vanished", "Saudi cleric detained in crackdown dies: activists", "Saudi Arabia's crackdown on dissent keeps going. [266] In 2011, the Specialized Criminal Court was used to charge and sentence human rights activists. Article 8 His family feared the punishment could kill him. In its 50 years, there has not been a single non-Sunni Muslim diplomat in the embassy. [41], Saudi Arabia is a notable destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of slave labour and commercial sexual exploitation. [212], On 2 October 2018, Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in order to deal with paperwork related to his marriage. They were accused of "plotting to celebrate Christmas," according to a December 26 statement released by the police branch. [8] In April 2020, flogging is no longer carried out as a punishment in the Saudi court system. Saudi Arabia abstained from the United Nations vote adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, saying it contradicted sharia law. [22], Walid Fitaihi is a physician who studied and worked in the US in the 1980s. Princess Basmah remains imprisoned even after the charges held against her were dropped and she reported of having a “health status VERY critical”. murder or serious criminal activities under Islamic law.[219]. and cut Saudi Arabia’s oil production by about half for several weeks, In August, in a positive and long-overdue development, the authorities announced major reforms to the discriminatory male guardianship system. On 23 April, 37 Saudi Arabian men were executed.