G20 Leaders, Don’t Buy the Spin: Saudi Arabia’s Real Change-makers Are in Jail
G20 leaders attending this weekend’s virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia must take the Saudi authorities to task for their shameless hypocrisy on women’s rights, Amnesty International said today. Women’s empowerment features prominently on Saudi Arabia’s G20 Agenda, despite the fact the activists who spearheaded campaigns for women’s rights are languishing in jail or facing trial.
“For Saudi authorities the G20 Summit is critical: it is a moment for them to promote their reform agenda to the world, and show their country is open for business. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s real reformers are behind bars” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Instead of playing along with the Saudi government’s whitewashed narrative, G20 leaders should use this summit as an opportunity to stand up for the brave activists whose genuine commitment to women’s empowerment has cost them their freedom.”
Human Rights Watch said the G20 awarded Riyadh this year’s presidency “despite the Saudi government’s unrelenting assault on fundamental freedoms, including jailing and harassing public dissidents and human rights activists, unlawful attacks on civilians in Yemen, and flouting international calls for accountability for the murder by state agents of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi”.