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Saudi Arabia: Corporal Punishment

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL12752, tabled on 1 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of people in Saudi Arabia receiving repeated public lashings for asserting their atheism; and whether they consider that such punishments contravene the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Answered on

11 February 2021

The UK strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), which is restricted in Saudi Arabia. Ministers and our Ambassador in Saudi Arabia regularly raise and discuss freedom of religion or belief. Whilst Saudi Arabia ended flogging as a form of corporal punishment in 2020, this change does not apply to some Hudud crimes, for which the Quran prescribes punishments.The UK will encourage further human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.

On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce will work with ministers, officials and others to deliver the Government's goal of seeing everyone, everywhere able to have and practise a faith, belief, or not to do so, in accordance with their conscience.