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Procedure : 2018/2712(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0261/2018

Texts tabled :

B8-0261/2018

Debates :

PV 31/05/2018 - 5.2
CRE 31/05/2018 - 5.2

Votes :

PV 31/05/2018 - 7.2
CRE 31/05/2018 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0232

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 366kWORD 53k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0259/2018
29.5.2018
PE621.646v01-00
 
B8-0261/2018

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia (2018/2712(RSP))


Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Rolandas Paksas, Daniela Aiuto on behalf of the EFDD Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia (2018/2712(RSP))  
B8‑0261/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Saudi Arabia, notably those concerning human rights and, in particular, that of 11 March 2014 on Saudi Arabia, its relations with the EU and its role in the Middle East and North Africa(1), that of 12 February 2015 on the case of Mr Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia(2) and that of 8 October 2015 on the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr(3);

–  having regard to the statement of 27 January 2018 by the Spokesperson of the Vice‑President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini on the sentencing of Human Rights defenders in Saudi Arabia;

–  having regard to the CEDAW Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Saudi Arabia from 9th March 2018;

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

 

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights,

 

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

 

–  having regard to the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

  

–  having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

 

A.  whereas human rights situation in Saudi Arabia remains highly alarming, particularly with regards to lack of democratic rights, discrimination against women and the existence of corporal punishment and the death penalty;

 

B.   whereas the Saudi authorities arrested a number of activists on Tuesday, May 15. Whereas the authorities launched a series of raids and searches of activists’ homes and arbitrarily arrested them in a way intended to humiliate the detainees and frighten family members in their homes.

 

C.   whereas since the 15th May 2018 Saudi authorities have arrested eleven prominent women’s rights activists and human rights lawyer: Loujain al-Hathloul, Aisha al- Mana, Madeha al-Ajroush, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Youssef, Hessah al-Sheikh, Walaa al-Shubbar, Ibrahim Fahad Al-Nafjan Ibrahim al-Modeimigh, Mohammad al-Rabae and Abdulaziz al-Meshaal; whereas these activists are known for their campaign against the ban on women driving and advocacy for the abolishment of the male guardianship system, and have been arrested under fabricated charges of “suspicious contact with foreign parties” and “undermining security and stability of the state”; ahead of the anticipated lifting of the ban on women driving on 24 June 2018;

 

 

D.   whereas Loujain al-Hathloul was transferred from Abu Dhabi to Saudi Arabia against her will in March 2018 after attending a review session of Saudi Arabia at the UN CEDAW; whereas she was placed under travel ban until her recent arrest has been held in incommunicado detention and denied an access to her lawyers and family;

 

E.   whereas Lujain Al-Hathloul was also detain in June 2017 and December 2014;

 

F.   whereas the day the lifting of the ban on women driving was announced, officials working for the King threatened prominent women’s rights activists, warning them not to speak to the media;

 

G.   whereas Arabia’s 13 million women and four million girls face severe discrimination in all aspects of their lives and Saudi Arabia ranked 138 out of 144 countries in the “The Global Gender Gap Report” published by the World Economic Forum;

 

H.   whereas achieving gender equality and ensuring women’s rights requires urgent and deep changes and the elimination of any discriminations in the law and in practice;

 

 

I.   whereas Saudi legal system is widely discriminatory against women, including with respect of the most relevant provision affecting the personal status of women, their right to work, their civil rights, their right to freedom of movement, their right to choose their residency, their right to marry, their access to justice, being the authorization from a male guardian of their family still expected in most of these areas, according to the system of male guardianship;

 

 

J.   whereas the announcements on societal reforms, including on women’s rights, have paradoxically been accompanied by an increasing crackdown, inter alia on women human rights defenders, who face multiple-discrimination, a variety of gender based risks, threats of prosecution by the Specialised Criminal Court and are subject to arrest and other forms of intimidation;

 

K.   whereas the work of women’s rights defenders is crucial to attaining gender equality and eliminating gender-based discrimination;

 

L.   whereas in recent years Saudi Arabia has undertaken a number of reform efforts meant to ease restrictions on women but its continued support for the male guardianship system hinders or nullifies the efficacy of these ostensible reforms.

 

M   whereas Saudi Arabia is member of the UN Human Rights Council and of the Commission on the Status of Women, and starting in January 2019 it will become member of the Executive Council of the UN Commission on the Status of Women ;

 

N.   whereas, according to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Saudi Arabia´s general reservation to the CEDAW is incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention and forbidden under article 28 of the same Convention;

 

O.   whereas in 2013 Saudi Arabia adopted a counter-terrorism law (revised in 2017) who strongly limit the right to express dissenting opinions and to freely associate;

 

P.   whereas Saudi Arabia ranks 169 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2018 and internet is heavily censored by the Ministry of Information;

 

Q.   whereas the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression to the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in 2015; whereas he is still in jail solely for having peacefully expressed his views;

 

R.   whereas today most of the country’s prominent and independent human rights defenders have been imprisoned, or forced to flee the country;

 

 

1.   expresses its solidarity with Loujain al-Hathloul, Aisha al- Mana, Madeha al-Ajroush, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Youssef, Hessah al-Sheikh, Walaa al-Shubbar, Ibrahim Fahad Al-Nafjan Ibrahim al-Modeimigh, Mohammad al-Rabae and Abdulaziz al-Meshaal and all women’s right activists arrested or thretened by Saudi Arabia;

 

2.   urges Saudi Authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all these activists, as well as all the other human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience detained;

 

3.   emphasises that all detainees’ without distinctions should be treated in a human and decent way;

 

4.   calls on the European Union and the Member States to take a strong stand towards these flagrant violations of human rights; urges the EU Delegation in Riyadh to provide all appropriate support to the imprisoned women’s rights defenders, such as prison visits, trial monitoring and the provision of legal or any other form of assistance that the defendants might require;

 

5.   denounces the continued and systemic violation of women’s right in Saudi Arabia and deplores the hypocrisy of the announcements of reform by the Saudi leadership, accompanied by a brutal crackdown on women’s rights defenders in the past few weeks;

6.   strongly condemns the male guardianship system and urges Saudi authorities to abolish it without any delay; strongly condemns all the other forms of discrimination affecting women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, including the lack of protection against some form of sexual violence and early and forced marriages;

 

7.   calls on the Saudi authorities to revise the Law on Associations and Foundations of December 2015, that barren women activists from organizing themselves; stresses the right for women activists to work freely and independently, without undue interference by the authorities;

8.   calls on the Saudi authorities to lift the reservations made to CEDAW and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

9.   calls on the EU to include a discussion on human rights as a permanent item on the agenda of the annual summit between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council;

10.   deplores the election of Saudi-Arabia with the support of some EU Member States to the UN Commission on the Status of Women; calls on the EU to take an initiative at the next Human Rights Council and at the Commission on the Status of Women which would raise the issue of membership by States with deeply questionable human rights records, notably in terms of women’s rights and gender equality;

11.   calls on the HR/VP, European External Action Service and Member States to ensure full implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, particularly women human rights defenders;

 

12.   calls for the EU to develop specific tools for protection and support to women human rights defenders at risk, to be adopted as an annex to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders;

 

13.   encourages the EU and Member States to recognize and support the strategies, networks and mechanisms that women human rights defenders promote in their countries of origin for self-protection which include measures that take into account their specific needs in the context of discrimination and violence against women;

 

14.   urges further EU actions for greater visibility and social and political recognition of the important contribution of women human rights defenders to the advancement of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and to highlight the harmful impact of gender discrimination as regards to full political participation, integrity and the safety of women human rights defenders and the advance of democracy;

 

15.   calls on the Saudi authorities to revise the Anti-Terrorist law, the Anti-Cybercrime Law and the Press and Publications Law, which are repeatedly used to prosecute human rights defenders;

16.   reiterates its call on the Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Raif Badawi; insists that all senior representatives of the EU, notably VPHR Mogherini and Commissioners, systematically raise the case of Raif Badawi in their contacts with their Saudi counterparts and request to meet with him during their visits in the country; commits to stepping up its efforts in support of his release;

 

17.   recalls the EU Common Position on Arms exports and condemns the significant arms deals by EU Member States with Saudi Arabia; calls on the High Representative to report on the current state of military and security cooperation by EU Member States with the Saudi regime;

 

18. reiterates its call for an EU-wide ban on export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment to Saudi Arabia which can be or is used for internal repression, including Internet surveillance technology;

 

19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council, H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Secretary-General of the Centre for National Dialogue of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 

 

(1)

  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0207.

(2)

  Texts adopted P8_TA(2015)0037.

(3)

  Texts adopted P8_TA(2015)0345.

Last updated: 30 May 2018Legal notice