• Saudi Arabia has stepped up arrests, trials, and convictions of peaceful dissidents, and forcibly dispersed peaceful demonstrations by citizens. Authorities continued to violate the rights of Saudi women and girls and foreign workers. Authorities subjected thousands of people to unfair trials and arbitrary detention. Courts convicted human rights defenders and others for peaceful expression or assembly demanding political and human rights reforms.
  • Waleed Abu al-Khair, prominent lawyer and human rights activist, speaks to Human Rights Watch over Skype from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2013.
    Saudi authorities should immediately release prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair and drop all charges against him.


Saudi Arabia

  • Apr 17, 2014
    Saudi authorities should immediately release prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair and drop all charges against him.
  • Apr 11, 2014
    In a welcome move that could advance rights for women and girls, Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council has directed the Education Ministry to study the possibility of introducing physical education for girls in Saudi public schools. The council, the kingdom’s highest consultative body, voted overwhelmingly – 92 votes to 18 – in favor of the recommendation, but the Ministry of Education must draft and present regulations, and the Shura Council and Cabinet must approve them before sports for girls in public schools becomes a reality, Human Rights Watch said.
  • Mar 31, 2014
  • Mar 28, 2014
    When the story broke earlier this month of four Saudi princesses allegedly confined to their Jeddah home by members of their own family, the kingdom soon went into damage control mode.
  • Mar 25, 2014
    President Barack Obama should raise human rights issues during his visit to Saudi Arabia on March 28-29, 2014. His visit comes as Saudi authorities are clamping down on civil society activists and peaceful dissidents, and have arrested and deported at least 250,000 foreign workers since November, according to the Interior Ministry.
  • Mar 20, 2014
    Saudi Arabia’s new terrorism law and a series of related royal decrees create a legal framework that appears to criminalize virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism. The sweeping provisions in the measures, all issued since January 2014, threaten to close down altogether Saudi Arabia’s already extremely restricted space for free expression.
  • Mar 19, 2014
    The Human Rights Council’s review of Saudi Arabia comes at a time of serious concern about the rights situation in the country. Authorities have intensified efforts to repress and silence peaceful dissidents and human rights activists, continue to systematically discriminate against women and religious minorities, and have arrested and deported at least 250,000 undocumented migrant workers since November 2013.
  • Mar 18, 2014
    In 2013, Mohamed, a 22-year old Somali, was making a living washing cars in Saudi Arabia. Late that year, due to increasing government pressure on employers of undocumented workers, he was fired. In December, after several weeks without a job, Mohamed handed himself over to the police. He spent the next 57 days detained in appalling conditions.
  • Mar 11, 2014
  • Feb 27, 2014
    As you prepare for your upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, we write to urge you to include critical human rights issues in all your discussions with Saudi officials. While the purpose of your visit may be to discuss “ongoing cooperation to advance a range of common interests related to Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues…,” the Arab uprisings, beginning in 2011, have shown that security and human rights are deeply interrelated and cannot be separated from wider conversations.