The latest development in this regard was the European Parliament’s statement, issued last Friday, which included criticism of the Kingdom and demands to impose sanctions on it. Because of the murder of Khashoggi inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul more than two years ago, and the human rights situation in the country.
The European Parliament recommended reducing the level of representation at the summit hosted by Riyadh via video link on November 21-22.
He said in a statement: The recommendation “aims to avoid legalizing impunity for human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was betting on using the summit to beautify the image of the Kingdom, which was severely damaged by the killing of Khashoggi on the one hand, and by the arbitrary arrests of princes, businessmen and opponents of various sects.
However, the Corona pandemic caught the young prince by surprise, and destroyed all the arrangements through which he wanted to refute the many accusations that are being pursued with regard to human rights and freedoms in the Kingdom, which puts its crown prince on the list of reformers.
The call of the European Parliament is not the first of its kind; International and regional human rights organizations have called for a boycott of the summit in protest to the Kingdom’s human rights record, especially since the summit comes less than two months after the second anniversary of Khashoggi’s killing.
On the 30th of June, the Paris-Francophone Institute for Liberties and the International Federation for Rights and Development (IFRD) criticized the decision to grant Saudi Arabia the right to host the 15th session of the G20 summit.
The two organizations said in a statement: “The Saudi environment does not respect human rights,” and that the principles of the group’s work “guarantee the freedom of work of civil society organizations, including the freedom to demonstrate and express opinion, which contradicts the reality of the situation in Saudi Arabia.”
Khadija Genghis, the fiancée of the slain Saudi journalist, and the editorial board of the “Washington Post” newspaper in which Khashoggi was writing, in early October, called on world leaders not to participate in the summit, and considered that the judicial process in the kingdom “is nothing but a funny mockery (of justice). ) ”.
Shameful record for Saudi Arabia
These calls paid off to some extent, as the mayors of London, Los Angeles, New York and Paris refused to participate in the mayors’ summit that was held in the Kingdom from September 30 to October 2, expressing concern about Riyadh’s human rights record.
But human rights in the Middle East are still clashing with the keenness of the major countries for their economic and military interests linked to oppressive regimes, and the past few years have witnessed the victory of money over morality in many battles.
The G20 countries own about two-thirds of the world’s economy, and about two-thirds of the world’s population also live in them. These countries have done a lot to help poor countries and face the challenges of famine and epidemics, according to Jordanian economic analyst Nimer Abu Kaf.
Depriving bin Salman of the presidency
In the context, the Jordanian political analyst Nimer Abu Kaf said that the hypothetical holding of the summit would deprive the Saudi crown prince of presiding over the work of the summit, which would have put him in the spotlight, indicating that the Kingdom is betting a lot on extravagance in reception and using the press to focus on this extravagance to serve the Kingdom’s image externally .
There are many files that will be discussed at the scheduled summit; Such as climate, human rights, and Corona, but the economy will remain the main focus of this summit, as it always is, according to Abu Kaf.
The Jordanian analyst believes that the summit will witness great pressure regarding the human rights file, especially since the refusal of some western mayors to attend the recent mayors conference in Riyadh was a clear message that the Kingdom will be exposed to great pressure during the upcoming summit.
However, in the end, Abu Kaf believes, these pressures will serve the interests of the countries that are applying these pressures. Everyone talks about human rights or the religious approach followed in the Kingdom in the end, which serves their interests.
Abu Kaf pointed out that Saudi Arabia is now considered a pivotal country more than ever, especially as it is close to normalizing relations with “Israel”, which would break the Arab hostility to the occupation state.
In view of the above, the Kingdom will be subject to media pressure and boycott by some international institutions such as the European Parliament, but in the end the summit will take place on time, and the Kingdom will not be the biggest winner from it, but it will also not lose much in it, according to Abu Kaf.
Lamia Fadla, President of the Geneva Council for Rights and Freedoms, believes that the recent decisions of Parliament represent a new “setback” for the Kingdom after the setback of the Corona pandemic, which spoiled it with the opportunity to host top world leaders to highlight its ability to play major leadership roles by hosting the largest global economic forum.
Fadla said, “Saudi Arabia has received many criticisms and calls for a boycott against the backdrop of its black human rights record, which includes the cases of Hathloul and her colleagues, Khashoggi, and Ethiopian immigrants detained in prisons.”
Fadla pointed out that the Geneva Council for Rights and Freedoms sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Mr. Felipe Gonzalez Morales, to put an end to the brutality with which Riyadh deals with Ethiopian migrants.
And she continued: “In the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, which ended three days ago, 29 countries led by Denmark signed a statement condemning the human rights record of the Kingdom. It denounced the harassment of human rights defenders, civil society, political opponents, and human rights activists.
What is new in this statement, the president of the Geneva Council for Rights and Freedoms adds, that there are new countries that have joined for the first time such diplomatic moves, such as Switzerland, which has a close relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Fadla said that all indications suggest that Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga is heading towards boycotting the summit, adding: “We in the Geneva Council for Rights and Freedoms salute all boycott calls and join them.”
Next week, the Geneva Council for Rights and Freedoms will make an official appeal to the Swiss government, through which we call on it to boycott the summit, according to Fadla, who said that “it is inappropriate for a leading country to protect and promote human rights like Switzerland to legitimize a country that continues to commit flagrant violations and establish a culture of impunity.” Of punishment.
Despite the American support, the large media campaigns, and the widespread spending on refuting the accusations facing Riyadh, the past few weeks have witnessed tangible moves on the way to drawing Riyadh’s attention to the need to review itself and reconsider its human rights record.
Khashoggi’s friends in the American capital recently launched the “Fajr” human rights organization, which the late journalist laid down its general framework weeks before his murder, and said that they aim to expose repressive practices in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.
The founders of the organization made it clear that they want through it to pressure Western administrations that support despotic regimes to force them to adopt real reforms with regard to freedom of expression, political activity and human rights work in these countries.
The inauguration of the organization came days after the announcement of the establishment of the first political opposition party abroad. After attempts to establish a political party at home failed due to the arrest of anyone moving in this direction.
Also, on October 2, the US Congress passed the Saudi Opposition Protection Act. US Congressman Jerry Connolly said, in a statement posted on his Twitter account, that he drafted the law to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and other attacks against the kingdom’s critics.
The international “Normandy” organization in France entered the line and awarded the “Freedom Prize” to activist Loujain Al-Hathloul, who has been detained in Riyadh’s prisons since May 2018, as a form of pressure on the government to release her.
A few days later, the “Prisoners of Conscience” account, concerned with the affairs of Saudi detainees, announced on “Twitter” Al-Hathloul’s nomination for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. It is true that the World Food Program won the award, but Al-Hathloul’s nomination for it was a message that is difficult to ignore.
In early October, Amnesty International published a report of “systematic brutality” in Ethiopian detention centers in Saudi Arabia, including the death of children and torture using electric shock.
On the seventh of the same month, a committee that includes British representatives and international lawyers requested a meeting with the former Crown Prince, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef and his uncle, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, who are being held in an unknown location in Saudi Arabia, to find out what violations they are exposed to.
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