On 16 September, Saudi Arabia Lawyer, Hassan al-Amri, delivered an Item 3 oral intervention (Arabic) at the 27th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva under Item 3. Please continue reading for full remarks or click here to download a PDF.
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, together with the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and the Dewany Organization, would like to call the Council’s attention to the apparent violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia stemming from the existence of deep structural flaws, which are a result of weakness and deformity of the legislative process, the absence of guarantees and legal mechanisms to uphold and regulate the process of respect for human rights, and the lack of a democratic environment in the administration of the State. We call on the Human Rights Council to execute its duties towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a member of the Council, in order to promote structural reforms that will bring the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia in line with the international standards to which it has committed and signed. Therefore, the KSA must speed the development and passage of laws and constitutional amendments which guarantee the following:
- Separation of the three authorities;
- Rule of law;
- Independence of the Judiciary;
- Checks and balances on the legislative process; and
- Enactment of laws by a Council freely elected by Saudi citizens.
In order to make positive progress which will rectify the deteriorating human rights situation, the Saudi government should urgently pursue the following:
- Remove the investigative authority from the Ministry of Interior (MOI);
- Cancel specialized confidential courts that are directed by the MOI;
- Legislate punishment for judicial misconduct; and
- Cease the use of narrow or incorrect interpretations of the principles of Islamic Shari’a.
The Government of Saudi Arabia must cease the prosecution and detention of human rights activists and end its efforts to silence and imprison those exercising their right to free expression, many of whom are currently serving lengthy prison sentences, and stop its politicized judiciary from applying travel bans for similar periods of time. The law of combating terrorism and its funding, recently issued by the Saudi government, does not comply with standards of justice, and it has been exploited for the purposes of surveilling and prosecuting human rights activists, such as our colleagues in “Hasa’am” society, Dr. Abdulla Al-Hamed, Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Judge Salaiman al-Rashoodi, media personnel Wajdi Qazawi and Isa al-Nefaikhi, and lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair.