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- NGOs Urge Asian States to Hold Competitive Elections for UN Rights Council

Members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or religious police, attend a training course in Riyadh.
© 2007 Reuters

Saudi Arabia

The resolution establishing the Human Rights Council requires that Saudi Arabia “fully cooperate” with the Council, including the independent human rights experts, and “uphold the highest standards” of human rights. Saudi Arabia meets neither of these criteria.

Saudi Arabia’s domestic human rights record falls far short of the “highest standards.” The government systematically suppresses the rights of 14 million Saudi women and of its minority Shia communities and fails to protect the rights of foreign workers. Thousands of people receive unfair trials or are subject to arbitrary detention. Curbs on freedom of association and expression remain serious concerns. The government severely curtails rights to peaceful assembly and political participation.

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Record of Abuses
  • Systematic suppression of the rights of 14 million Saudi women
  • Religious discrimination
  • Failure to protect the rights of 8 million foreign migrant workers
  • Arbitrary detention and unfair trials of thousands
  • Frequent use of the death penalty and application of the death penalty to juveniles
  • Curbs on freedom of expression and intolerance of dissent
  • Severe curtailment of rights to peaceful assembly and political participation
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Record of non-cooperation

As a Council member, Saudi Arabia is required to “fully cooperate with the Council,” but has failed to meet this obligation.

  • As of April 2009, Saudi Arabia has five outstanding requests for visits from the Council’s independent human rights experts.
  • For its Universal Periodic Review in February 2009, Saudi Arabia submitted a report that contained little factual information on human rights violations.
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