Search Results

News

Disparaging References to Shia, Sufi Practices Remain Despite Progress

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has taken important steps to purge its school religion textbooks of hateful and intolerant language, but the current texts maintain language that disparages practices associated with religious minorities, Human Rights Watch…
Then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air College in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News

Journalists Assaulted, Threatened, Harassed

Kenyan media didn’t have much to celebrate on World Press Freedom Day. Kenyan police and senior state officials have continued to intimidate, threaten, and physically attack journalists reporting on sensitive issues, and authorities have done…
Ferry passengers flee from police firing tear gas, after new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus instead caused a crowd to form outside the ferry in Mombasa, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020.
News

Convicted for Criticizing Government Abuses

(Beirut) – A leading Saudi human rights figure has died after suffering a stroke on April 9, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Abdullah al-Hamid, 69, spent the final seven years of his life in prison following his conviction in March…
202004mena_saudi_alhamid
News

Positive Reforms for Women Tainted by Ongoing Arrests of Activists, Dissidents

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities carried out a sweeping campaign of repression against independent dissidents and activists, including two waves of mass arrests, in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The arrests and…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
News

Arrests, Torture, Murder Accompany Reforms

(Washington, DC) – Important social reforms enacted under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been accompanied by deepening repression and abusive practices meant to silence dissidents and critics, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
201911MENA_SaudiArabia_Repression_main
News

Reform Intelligence Services; Free Dissidents; End Abuses

(Beirut) – Following the Saudi government’s belated admission of responsibility for the October 2, 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it should move promptly to provide justice for its role in the crime and release jailed government…
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
News

The admission of guilt by the Saudi authorities needs to be accompanied by the release of political prisoners

A year ago today, I spoke on the phone to Hatice Cengiz, who introduced herself, with a trembling voice, as the fiancé of my friend Jamal Khashoggi. She was standing outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, extremely concerned that he…
An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018.
News

Criticized ‘Extremism’ in School Curriculum

(Beirut) – Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a Saudi religious reformist thinker on a host of vague charges relating to his peaceful religious ideas, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities arrested Hassan…
News

17 Organizations Denounce Threats to Prosecute Journalists Investigating French Arms Sales

(Paris) – Seventeen humanitarian and human rights organizations denounced threats to press freedom after three French journalists were summoned by French intelligence services for investigating the presence of French weapons in the conflict in Yemen,…
People are seen near a bus destroyed by an airstrike that killed dozens of children, in a photograph taken on August 12, 2018 in Saada, Yemen.
News

Journalists Face Unjustifiable Restrictions, Threats

Many Kenyan journalists and rights activists travelled this week to Ethiopia for a summit to mark the World Press Freedom Day celebrations. It’s a sign of how things have changed that some Kenyan journalists told us how impressed they…
A Kenyan journalist participates in a protest in the capital, Nairobi, against draconian new laws restricting media freedom that were presented in parliament, December 3, 2013.
News

Alleged Forced Confession for Supporting Protests

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities are seeking to lengthen the prison sentence of a cleric known for supporting protests against the systematic discrimination of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Sheikh Mohammad Hassan al-Habib
News

French Arms Sales to Coalition Raise Complicity Concerns

(Paris) – President Emmanuel Macron of France should raise serious concerns with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince regarding laws-of-war violations in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan of the United Arab…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Faj Attan, a densely populated neighborhood in Sanaa, on August 25, 2017. Two of the buildings were completely destroyed and the third suffered extensive damage. Saudi-led coalition aircraft
News

World Leaders, Journalists Should Demand Accounting for Rights Abuses

  (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s admission that government representatives killed Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018 has sparked intensified and overdue scrutiny of the country’s human…
 Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
News

Pervasive Discrimination Against Shia Persists

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has recently made moves likely to appeal to the country’s Shia minority. This includes neutering the country’s once-powerful religious establishment, which has spewed anti-Shia vitriol and…
Illustration of a sword made out of writing © 2017 Adam Maida for Human Rights Watch
News

Superficial reforms leave religious minorities behind—and that's dangerous

After generating some positive press earlier this summer by lifting the ban on women driving, Saudi Arabia is once more the target of reproach. In August, the country’s notorious terrorism court sought the death penalty against Israa al…
201808middleeast_saudi_un_binsalman
News

Authorities Should Allow Open Reporting on Issues of Public Interest

Kenya joined the rest of the world to celebrate freedom of the press this week under a hostile and uncertain environment for the media. Despite numerous public promises by President Uhuru Kenyatta to safeguard press freedom, the…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Textbooks Disparage Sufi, Shia; Label Jews, Christians ‘Unbelievers’

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s school religious studies curriculum contains hateful and incendiary language toward religions and Islamic traditions that do not adhere to its interpretation of Sunni Islam, Human Rights Watch said today. The texts disparage Sufi…
Ministry of Education, Al-Tawhid, Student Book, Secondary Semester Program, Level Three, 2016-17, p. 104
News

Journalists Face Intimidation Around Election

Duncan Khaemba, a television journalist in Kenya, was reporting on cases of violence in Kibera, a low-income neighborhood in Nairobi, when he was arrested with his colleague Otieno Willis on August 12, and subsequently released. Media…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
News

Awamiya Residents Caught in Crossfire, Lack Essential Services

(Beirut) – Saudi security forces have surrounded and sealed off the predominantly Shia town of Awamiya in July 2017 as they confronted an armed group hiding in a historic neighborhood slated for demolition, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Remains of cars and buildings are seen following a security campaign against Shi'ite Muslim gunmen in the town of Awamiya, in the eastern governorate of Qatif, August 9, 2017.