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 Full text 
Thursday, 14 February 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Women's rights defenders in Saudi Arabia

  Charles Tannock, author. – Mr President, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been keen to market himself as a progressive visionary since coming to power: ushering in headline-grabbing reforms, such as removing the ban on women driving, and allowing cinemas to operate freely in the country.

On other fundamental issues, however, we see little changing, particularly for women as they continue to be subject to the harsh guardianship laws imposed by the Saudi authorities. These laws and the repressive culture surrounding them are making the everyday lives of Saudi women unbearable. These measures are often defended by the authorities as being rooted in Wahhabi religious norms, yet when we look at neighbouring countries in the Gulf, such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain, it’s plain for all to see that the laws in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are significantly more restrictive.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to raise again the case of Jamal Khashoggi. The investigation into the torture and murder of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul remains inconclusive, and I continue to be deeply concerned about the many reports which allege links at the highest levels of the Saudi state.

Last updated: 5 July 2019Legal notice