The UAE is also implicated in abuses against detainees in UAE-controlled prisons in Yemen, according to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. The human rights organization says that hundreds of detainees in Yemen have been subjected to physical and sexual torture as well as mass assault in prisons run by armed groups from the UAE, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebellion.
Results for Tag: Human Rights
The arrest comes at the same time that Saudi Arabia has detained a number of prominent women’s rights activists, ironically just ahead of the date set to lift the ban on women driving in the kingdom. The arrests of both the activists and al-Rashid have provoked an outcry from rights groups and a statement of concern from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, but so far international action has been limited.
Some see in the arrests and smear campaign against the activists an attempt to erase the history of hard-fought grassroots struggle by women demanding reforms. Others have suggested that the arrests were a tactic by the crown prince to appease more conservative elements in Saudi society who may be upset by the erosion of religious authority, including the reining in of the religious police.
At a time when the increasingly powerful Saudi crown prince is promoting his openness to economic and some social reforms, al-Nafjan and other activists are fighting for women’s rights that go beyond the lifting of the driving ban. Yet their arrest is a clear sign that further improvements in women’s rights are a long way off.
Women’s rights activists are ironically being punished for pushing the same agenda that led Saudi Arabia to lift the driving ban in the first place – and been praised internationally for it. However, the arrests are looking increasingly like a way to silence the activists in order to avoid having to give more rights to women.
“The human rights situation is the worst it has been in the country’s modern history,” Khalid Ibrahim, director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, told Fanack. “There is no one to speak up, no space for civil society. Most of the prominent human rights defenders are in jail, sometimes tortured, have fled the country or are banned from leaving it if they work with the international community.”
Under Article 308 of the penal code, rapists who married their victims and remained married for at least three years were pardoned. Some legislators pushed to retain an article that allowed the provision to remain in place in cases of statutory rape of minors aged 15 to 17, but in the end, the entire code was repealed. Advocates hailed the decision as a major step forward for women’s rights.
On 11 July 2016, the Israeli Knesset passed a law requiring non-governmental organizations that receive more than half of their funding from ‘foreign political entities’ to disclose this in all official publications. The so-called NGO bill affects 27 organizations, of which 25 are human rights NGOs that identify with the Israeli left.