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Joint Statement on Canada’s Support for Women Human Rights Defenders in Saudi Arabia

The BC Civil Liberties Association supports the Government of Canada’s decision to speak out strongly on the detention of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, including Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi. We join Canada in urging Saudi Arabia to release rights activists Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada, and other human rights activists.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has imprisoned a number of growing number of human rights defenders, including Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef. Loujain is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, and is a fierce advocate for women’s equality in Saudi Arabia. They and other human rights activists should be freed, and Canada should continue to stand for their release.

In supporting the federal government’s strong public statements on this issue, the BCCLA notes that our government’s record in dealing with the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is a troubled one. As our colleague Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada points out today: “Canada’s own record has been far from perfect, perhaps best evidenced by the willingness of both the previous Harper and current Trudeau governments to go ahead with a lucrative deal to sell $15 billion of armoured vehicles to the Saudis, despite the very real risk they will be used to commit human rights violations and even war crimes in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen.” Amnesty International’s call for that deal to be scrapped can be read about here.

The BCCLA has signed a joint letter of support for Canada’s statements on the detention of human rights activists, along with the Nobel Women’s Initiative and other organizations. That letter can be found here.