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Parliamentary questions
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12 June 2020
Question for written answer
to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Rule 138
Brando Benifei (S&D), Evin Incir (S&D), Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D), Aurore Lalucq (S&D), Tanja Fajon (S&D), Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D), Marc Angel (S&D), Nora Mebarek (S&D), Pina Picierno (S&D), Evelyn Regner (S&D), Alex Agius Saliba (S&D), Eva Kaili (S&D), Milan Brglez (S&D), Patrizia Toia (S&D), Giuliano Pisapia (S&D), Dietmar Köster (S&D), Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), Sara Cerdas (S&D), Margarida Marques (S&D), Isabel Carvalhais (S&D), Robert Hajšel (S&D), Heléne Fritzon (S&D)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Situation of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, in spite of some minor cosmetic improvements, women’s rights are still severely restricted. Women’s rights activists often face arrest and detention without charges. While the Saudi Government has lifted the ban on women driving, since 2018 more than 30 activists, both men and women, have been arrested and often tortured, often without any formal charges. Among them, Samar Badawi, Nassima Al-Sada and Loujain Al-Hathloul, women who fought against the male guardianship system or even dared to run for office. Saudi Arabia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, 36 of whose member countries publicly criticised it for its human rights records in March 2019. Against this backdrop:

1. Is the VP/HR committed to calling, at all diplomatic levels, for the Saudi authorities to release women’s rights activists, withdraw the charges against them and end all human rights violations, arbitrary detentions and torture?

2. Is the VP/HR ready to put pressure on the Saudi authorities to end the male guardianship system and discrimination against women in Saudi society?

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