Ongoing Crackdown in Egypt and Saudi Arabia
The Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in MENA
June- Newsletter 2018
Egypt and Saudi Arabia are continuing their increasingly violent and arbitrary crackdown against women human rights defender. Saudi authorities continue to hold prominent women human rights defenders incommunicado without access to lawyers or relatives as the world celebrates lifting the ban on Saudi women drivers and Egyptian authorities continue to detain women human right defender Amal Fathy, and continues to summon WHRDs for investigation.
Since 15 May 2018, Saudi authorities arrested at least 7 women human rights defenders whose work was prominently focused on reclaiming women’s right to drive, just few weeks before lifting the long-standing ban on women. State media outlets have publicly declared seven women’s rights defenders and supporters of the women’s rights movement as traitors, including Loujain Al-Hathloul, a well-known WHRD on social media who was arrested on 15 May; Dr. Eman Al-Nafjan, founder and author of the Saudiwoman’s Weblog, who had previously protested the driving ban; Aziza Al-Yousef, a prominent campaigner for women’s rights. In addition, Saudi authorities also arrested WHRDs Nouf AbdelAziz and Mayaa Al Zahrani.
We at the Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa are in solidarity with women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia.
We also call on the Saudi authorities, and immediately:
– Release all women human rights defenders and ensure their physical and psychological integrity and pledge not to harass them in any way
– Disclose the details of the investigation, including the grounds on which charges were brought against women human rights defenders
– Stop pursuing women human rights defenders and recognize their fundamental role in Saudi society, including their success in reclaiming women’s right to drive
The Coalition also demands the:
-The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (UN) suspends Saudi Arabia’s membership in the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The arrests and prosecution of WHRDs makes it clear that Saudi Arabia has no place in the Commission and that its seat does not comply with the oppression of women and WHRDs.
-The UN’s General Assembly (GA) to suspend Saudi Arabia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). A two-thirds majority of the GA may suspend the membership rights of any HRC member engaged in “gross and systematic violations of human rights.” Detaining WHRDs, accusing them of serious charges without any legal basis and stripping them from their basic human rights in detention–are gross and systematic violations of human rights.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
We ask all supporters to please write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet using the hashtag #ReleaseSaudiWHRDs urging the Saudi authorities to act on the above recommendations.
Contact the following officials:
King and Prime Minister
His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of Interior)
+966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)
Ambassador Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz,
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20037
Phone: (202) 342-3800 I Fax: 202 295 3625
Contact Form: https://www.saudiembassy.net/contact
Egyptian authorities continue to detain women human right defender Amal Fathy, who called out the Egyptian government for failing to protect women.
On the 18th of June, the investigative judge for Case No. 173, known as the NGO Foreign Funding Case, summoned WHRD Mozn Hassan, Founder and Executive Director for Nazra for Feminist Studies, for interrogation, where she appeared before him on Wednesday 20 June 2018 at New Cairo Court in Fifth Settlement District. The investigative judge in case 173 (known as the NGO Foreign Funding Case) ordered the release of feminist activist and Woman Human Rights Defender (WHRD) Mozn Hassan, Founder and Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, on bail amounting to 30,000 EGP, on charges of: Establishing an entity in violation of the law and conducting activities that do not abide by the purposes of the organization with the intention of harming national security, receiving foreign funding with the intention of harming national security, and tax evasion.
Since 2016, the Egyptian authorities have been targeting Mozn Hassan for her peaceful activism relentlessly. In March 2016, three members from Nazra for Feminist Studies were summoned to appear before the investigative judge on 22 March, after which Mozn Hassan was summoned to appear before him on 29 March 2016. The investigative judge later said that he will summon Mozn Hassan at another time. On 26 June 2016, the passport administration at Cairo International Airport banned her from travel while she was processing her departure from Cairo. In January 2017, the North Cairo Elementary Court froze her personal assets and those of the association, Nazra for Feminist Studies. This verdict was also issued in accordance to a request by the investigative judge within the same case referred to above. Nazra for Feminist studies is the first association to have its assets frozen in the history of civic associations working on women’s human rights. The asset freeze forced Nazra to bid farewell to its office.
Thus, the Regional Coalition demands the Egyptian authorities to:
-End all legal persecution of WHRD Amal Fathy.
-End the legal harassment and intimidation against WHRDs.
-End the vicious crackdown against WHRDs that only aims at shrinking feminist and women’s spaces in Egypt.