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Citizens for Justice and Peace

UN human rights experts criticise Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on peaceful activists

04, Jan 2018 | CJP Team

Five United Nations (UN) human rights experts have condemned Saudi Arabia’s “continued use” of counter-terror and security laws to target human rights defenders, a statement from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said. These include the special rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the freedom of religion or belief. According to the Guardian, “more than 60 prominent clerics, writers, academics, religious figures, journalists and activists” have reportedly been detained in a spate of arrests starting September 2017. According to the OHCHR announcement, the experts said members of the banned Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) have also been targeted in a “worrying pattern of widespread and systematic arbitrary arrests and detention”. The experts have questioned how these actions “are compatible with Saudi Arabia’s obligations under international human rights law, as well as with the voluntary pledges and commitments it made when seeking to join the Human Rights Council”. They added that “despite being elected as member of the Human Rights Council at the end of 2016, Saudi Arabia has continued its practice of silencing, arbitrarily arresting, detaining and persecuting human rights defenders and critics.” 

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