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Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 32026, tabled on 19 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the ongoing judicial proceedings against women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia; and whether UK officials have been granted access to attend the trial sessions.

Answered on

27 March 2020

We are concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights priority country, particularly because of the use of the death penalty and restrictions on women's rights, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief. We will continue to call for political detainees, including women's rights defenders, to be given adequate legal representation. We have pressed for due process and raised concerns over the use of solitary confinement and the use of torture. The UK attends trials of international importance in all countries where permitted. The UK, along with other embassies in Saudi Arabia, has requested and been denied access to each and every trial we have been aware of since October 2018, with the exception of the trials for those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. We regularly raise human rights issues with Saudi Arabia, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month.