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Macron Should Address Rights Abuses in Gulf Region

This week, French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with a large delegation of French ministers and major business executives. In the UAE, he will apparently be finalizing a weapons deal, when…
News

National Assembly Passes Law to Ratify ILO Violence and Harassment Convention

Update: On October 28, the Senate adopted the bill to ratify the ILO violence and harassment Convention (C190). (Paris, July 23) “The world of work must not be a source of anxiety or insecurity for women.” ”France now intends to be a model in the…
Protestors marching to demand the end of femicide and violence against women in Paris, France, November 23, 2019. 
News

Parliament Should Support Ratification and Improve Protections in National Law

Two years after a landmark treaty to combat workplace violence and harassment was adopted, France has taken an important step towards domesticating the effort. On Wednesday, France’s Council of Ministers approved the ratification of the ILO…
Women demonstrate and march for “First of Chores” on International Day
News

Strong Political Declaration Needed to Reduce Civilian Harm

The Covid-19 pandemic has put the brakes on many things, including the negotiations to conclude a new political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas. But states have continued such use, particularly with weapons with wide-area effects,…
Children in front of the Africa/Ayga hotel likely damaged by a direct fire weapon in Humera town, Tigray region, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020.
News

Loujain al-Hathloul, Nouf Abdelaziz Risk Return to Prison if They Speak Out

Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from prison earlier this week after spending 1,001 days in detention, a testament to the tireless campaign of her family and human rights activists around the globe since her arrest…
Loujain al-Hathloul
News

HRW G20 Campaign Calls for Release of All Human Rights Defenders

For more than two years, Saudi Arabia has locked up women’s rights activists who fought for – and won – women’s right to drive. But as the country is gearing up to virtually host the G20 World Leaders’ Summit November 21-22, it looks like the Saudi…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
News

Migrant Workers Face Abuse and Exploitation

There are reports this week that Saudi authorities are seeking to abolish the notorious kafala (sponsorship) system in 2021. Under that system, some 10 million migrant workers’ legal status are tied to their employer—facilitating abuse and…
Trapped in Employer's home
News

Until Activists Are Free, Talk of Reform Rings Hollow

Saudi Arabia will virtually host the Women20 Summit (W20) this week. During the event, over 80 women’s rights experts representing nonprofits, private companies, and academic institutions will discuss “realizing opportunities of the 21st century…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
News

Ratify ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, Make National Reforms

“Together, governments and social partners, we say NO to violence and harassment and YES to building a better world of work.” France’s Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud gave these remarks last year when the International Labour Organization (ILO)…
People holding signs against sexual harassment at work protest cuts to France's Ministry of Women's Rights budget, July 21, 2017.
News

Arms Sales to Rights-Abusing Countries Fuel Atrocities Against Civilians

Last week, the French government published its latest report on arms exports, documenting sales and transfers throughout 2019. After Qatar, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt received the greatest amounts, accounting for €1.4 billion and €1.0…
French-made Leclerc tanks of the Saudi-led coalition are deployed on the outskirts of the Yemeni port city of Aden during a military operation, August 3, 2015.
News

Male Guardianship, Sexual Harassment Amongst Major Concerns

Over the past two weeks, Saudi women have taken to Twitter, using pseudonyms, to share their experiences with sexual harassment, the reasons behind their hesitance to report these abuses to the authorities, and demands for the abolition of…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Other Dangerous Crowd Control Weapons Remain in Use

This week, France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that French police would stop using the controversial GLI-F4 tear gas grenade. This move is long overdue, but doesn’t address serious concerns about other weapons…
Protester picks up a tear gas grenade during a police charge on December 8, 2019 on the Champs Elysees, Paris.
News

New Law Would Let Lesbian Couples, Single Women Get In Vitro Fertilization

Update: On June 29, 2021, the French Parliament adopted the new bioethics law with 326 votes for and 115 against. The first article of the bill allows lesbian couples and single women access to medically assisted procreation. All women in…
French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn gives a speech to introduce the debate on a bill that would give single women and lesbian couples access to in-vitro fertilization, at the National Assembly, in Paris
News

Conduct in Yemen War Means UK Government Should Not Resume Arms Sales

“The future for our defence sector is a very bright one.” So said Fleur Thomas, head of exports for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, as her government prepares to help host Europe’s biggest arms fair in London this…
Yemen apartment destroyed by airstrike.
News

Arms Sales Suspensions and Damning Report on Khashoggi Murder Are a Strong Signal to Riyadh

In a powerful rebuke to the Trump administration and a strong signal to Gulf states, the US Senate voted yesterday, 53 to 45, to block arms sales worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among other…
201906us_mena_saudi_trump_mbs_arms
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UK Suspends New Arms Licenses to Saudis After Losing Appeal in Face of Yemen War Violations

Yesterday I walked a route I know well from my former days as a trainee lawyer, through the cavernous Royal Courts of Justice in London, to hear three judges issue a ruling. It was all over in 15 minutes, but my colleagues and I left…
 Destruction at the location of an air strike at Radfan Ceramics Factory, west of Sanaa, Yemen, on September 23, 2015.
News

Australia Should Not Turn Its Back on Asylum Seekers

New reporting from Australia sheds light on the risks Saudi women face fleeing abuse, discrimination, or repression to seek safety in another country. According to ABC’s Four Corners, Australian authorities blocked entry to two Saudi…
Shelter
News

Appoint Strong Experts, Press All Parties to Cooperate

Bombing and shelling of civilians. Denial of access to food and medicine. Landmines and cluster bombs. Torture and abduction. Child soldiers. For more than two years, international, regional, and Yemeni human rights groups called on the…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Sanaa on August 25, 2017, killing at least 16 civilians, including seven children, and wounding another 17, including eight children. After an international outcry, the coalition admitted to
News

Mid-July Deadline Passes Without Word on Guardianship System

Saudi women have lobbied for an end to systematic discrimination against them for many years – could this long wait be nearing an end? In April, King Salman issued an order stipulating that government agencies cannot deny…
Shelter
News

Interrogation of Woman Who Wore Skirt in Snapchat Video Sparks Anger

A woman named Khulood was interrogated yesterday in Riyadh and handed over for prosecution. Her transgression? Wearing “indecent” clothing. But the same night, Saudi authorities released her without charge. A brief Snapchat video…
Screengrab from Khulood's Snapchat story.