Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s change in leadership in 2015 did not lead to significant human rights changes. Saudi authorities continued to arbitrarily arrest, try, and convict peaceful dissidents. Dozens of human rights defenders and activists are serving long prison sentences for criticizing authorities or advocating political and rights reforms. Authorities systematically discriminate against women and religious minorities. In 2015, Saudi Arabia carried out 158 executions, 63 for non-violent drug crimes. On January 2, 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 men for terrorism-related offenses, including prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was convicted following a deeply flawed trial. On March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike campaign against Houthi forces in Yemen that included use of banned cluster munitions and apparently unlawful strikes that killed civilians.