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EU/Saudi Arabia: First human rights meeting must not be a whitewash

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Ahead of the first EU-Saudi Arabia meeting on human rights on 27 September, Amnesty International is calling on EU leaders to hold Saudi Arabia’s government to account for its campaign to silence dissent, which has accelerated in recent months.

The human rights organization is also calling on the EU, which is hosting the meeting, to acknowledge the crucial role of Saudi civil society who face an onslaught of prosecutions, arbitrary detentions and other forms of persecution targeting them and their legitimate human rights work.

The EU must use this opportunity to ask tough questions of Saudi Arabian authorities on their human rights abuses, and not let them whitewash their atrocious record

Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office 

“The EU must use this opportunity to ask tough questions of Saudi Arabian authorities on their human rights abuses, and not let them whitewash their atrocious record. The authorities put executions and punitive trials on hold during the Saudi presidency of the G20 last year, but they were quickly resumed once the spotlight was off. The EU needs to publicly speak out for human rights defenders, and against the government’s crackdown on freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia,” said Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. 

“Human rights defenders arbitrarily detained simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia must all be immediately freed, and the EU must be robust in its defence of these brave individuals, who are defending the rights of everybody in Saudi Arabia,” said Eve Geddie. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: 
Alison Abrahams on [email protected] or +32 483 680 812 

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BACKGROUND 

Saudi human rights defenders from the diaspora, who are seeking to bring change in their country, are proposing a People’s Vision for Reform, outlining 13 key structural reforms that they want to see implemented in their country. Prior to the G20, the activists presented the vision as the missing chapterto Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the Crown Prince’s blueprint for economic and social reforms, noting that it “presents a fundamental people’s vision for reform in Saudi Arabia centering human rights and social justice as the most important benchmarks for reform”.