ADHRB at HRC38 Raises Concerns about Women’s Rights and Executions in Saudi Arabia

On Thursday 28 June, at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Ali Adubisi delivered an oral intervention on behalf of ADHRB and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights under Agenda Item 5. The Director of the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), he spoke about the ongoing human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, in particular the the widespread campaign against women’s rights activists, continuing trends in the death penalty, and the lowering of the age of majority from 18 years old to when individuals show signs of physical maturity. Click here to read a PDF of his intervention in Arabic and here for a PDF of his intervention in English.

Mr. President,

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and the European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) welcome the statement issued this morning by nine rapporteurs on the Saudi Arabia’s violations of women’s rights and human rights defenders. This important step is appreciated, especially with the promotional tours of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the misleading information that Saudi Arabia provides at the Human Rights Council, and the devaluation of people’s dignity, considering human rights the least of their interests.

Saudi Arabia is waging a war against individuals and organizations of the civil society, where Saudi activists are considered one of the least present in the Council’s activities, indicating the intimidation practiced against them. Samar Badawi was prohibited from traveling after her participation in the council, and Loujain Al-Hathloul was also banned from traveling after attending Saudi’s review under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. She was arrested, and portrayed as traitor on official media along with Aziza al-Yousef and Iman al-Nafjan and others, as well as the elderly mother, Aida Al-Ghamidi, and their trial as terrorists may begin soon, while the arrest of women like Nouf Abdul Aziz and Mia Alzahrani and Naima Al-Matroud and Roukayya Al-Mahareb the girl Nour Muslim.

Saudi Arabia continues to use the judicial system to legitimize repression, death sentences and imprisonment of those who call for reform, children, demonstrators and women. Currently, eight children are at risk of execution, and dozens of adults for non-serious charges, some of them related to demonstrations done. The judiciary is under the control of King Salman.

Saudi Arabia has been misleading the special convention committees. It has provided misleading information to the Committee against Torture at a time when brutal torture, even against children, was still being practiced using electrocution, stripping and nail removal, leading to the death of some victims, and hiding the practice of torture with impunity. Having confirmed here in March 2015 that anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a child and minor, Saudi Arabia replied to a letter of eight rapporteurs in December 2017 stating that a child’s age is decided based the signs of maturity, and in March 2018, the Shura Council approved on the government’ amendments (to consider the age of 15 to be the minimum age for punishing perpetrators).

Thank you.