SAUDI ARABIA: Women’s rights, beheadings and Raif Badawi
Press release from Amnesty International New Zealand
Tuesday, 28 April 2015, 9:12 am
Press Release: Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
SAUDI ARABIA: Women’s rights, beheadings and Raif Badawi must be on the agenda in talks tomorrow
As John Key heads into talks tomorrow with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International is calling on him to do more than just represent New Zealand’s trading interests but speak out strongly and publicly on the country’s abysmal human rights record.
Amnesty International welcomes Prime Minister Key’s comments that he will directly raise human-rights concerns with Saudi Arabia, but the human rights organisation is calling on him to use his position to raise specific issues and cases.
Saudi Arabia is a country with a complete disregard for human rights, where torture is used to extract confessions, and already this year more than 50 people have been executed - most beheaded.
“Mr Key has said he will raise human rights abuses while he is in Saudi Arabia and we welcome that. But for it to be more than a quiet, ‘tick the box’ exercise he needs to repeat his calls in public to add to the chorus of international voices,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director at Amnesty International New Zealand.
“What we need from the Prime Minister is to represent more than just New Zealand’s trading interests, but to also represent the values New Zealand holds dear, like respect for the law and human rights.”
Amnesty International encourages Mr Key to raise specific human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, such as women’s rights, the death penalty, including beheadings, torture and the sham justice system.
“We also call on the Prime Minister to raise the case of Raif Badawi, the Saudi writer sentenced to 1000 lashes and possible execution after setting up an online political forum. Government leaders from Britain, the United States and other countries have raised Badawi’s case. We call on Mr Key to do the same,” said Grant Bayldon.
“The Prime Minister has the opportunity to do something meaningful for the brave people in Saudi Arabia who are risking their lives for the basic rights Kiwis use every day.
As part of its UN Security Council campaign New Zealand promised to take a principled stand on international issues.”
Amnesty International will be watching and listening in the hope that what we see and hear is that Prime Minister John Key has made human rights a central part of the conversation during his trip to Saudi Arabia.