2009 Archives

February 2nd, 2013

Amnesty International Press Release:  14 December 2009 Saudi Arabia: 75-year-old woman faces 40 lashes. The Saudi Arabian authorities must not carry out the imminent flogging and imprisonment of an elderly woman and two younger men, Amnesty International said today. The Minister of Interior is reported to have ordered the immediate detention and flogging of a 75-year-old woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, along with two Saudi Arabian men known only as Fahad and Hadyan. All three were found guilty in March 2009 of being in the company of members of the opposite sex who are not close relatives, known as khilwa. More…

Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform 2009 Report on Human Rights in the Arab Region. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009. The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year.  … in Arabic

HRW PRESS RELEASE: December 4, 2009 Saudi Arabia/Yemen: Protect Civilians in Conflict with Rebels.  Aerial Bombings Reportedly Cause Civilian Casualties, Displacement .  “The escalating conflict in northern Yemen risks escalating civilian casualties,” said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch. “All sides must avoid harming civilians and ensure that aid reaches them quickly.” More…

Amnesty International Press Release: 2 December 2009 Saudi Arabian authorities must investigate reported killing of civilians in Yemen “We have asked the Saudi Arabian government to indicate what steps they are taking both to investigate this reported incident and, more generally, to ensure that all possible protection is afforded to civilians caught up in the conflict area in Yemen and along Saudi Arabia’s southern border,” said Malcolm Smart.  More…

Interview with Dr. Saleh Khathlan, Vice President of the National Assembly for Human Rights (in Arabic only) Interview…

HRFS PRESS RELEASE:  ONE DAY OFF FOR ASHOURA: Human Rights First Society (HRFS) calls for one day off for Saudi Shia to commemorate Ashoura, a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali.   The press release may be found in its entirety on the HRFS Arabic site which is blocked in Saudi Arabia.

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (FIDH): Copenhagen:  To respect human rights, states must find an agreement that is fair, ambitious and binding. With only a few days to go before the summit of Copenhagen on climate change, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has launched its final call1 for governments and heads of states to commit to an agreement which is fair, ambitious and binding. Climate change represents a major challenge for international human rights. Therefore FIDH wishes to contribute to the debate on sustainable development with the idea of a new model respectful of human rights and the environment. We need to act now.” More…

Human Rights Day 2009 on 10 December will focus on non-discrimination. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. These first few famous words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established 60 years ago the basic premise of international human rights law. Yet today, the fight against discrimination remains a daily struggle for millions around the globe.  “Our main objective is to help promote discrimination-free societies and a world of equal treatment for all,” says the High Commissioner, Navi Pillay who this year will mark Human Rights Day in South Africa.  She encourages people everywhere – including the UN family, governments, civil society, national human rights institutions, the media, educators, and individuals – to seize the opportunity of Human Rights Day 2009 to join hands to embrace diversity and end discrimination.  The realisation of all human rights – social, economic and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights – is hampered by discrimination. All too often, when faced with prejudice and discrimination, political leaders, governments and ordinary citizens are silent or complacent.  Yet everyone of us can make a difference. You are encouraged to celebrate Human Rights Day by advocating non-discrimination, organizing activities, raising awareness and reaching out to your local communities on 10 December and throughout 2010.  More…

“Must stop the crackdown on Shiites in Al-Ahsa” (Statement in Arabic) November 15, 2009

“No To Closing Ismaili Mosques Outside Najran” (Statement in Arabic) November 15, 2009

Arbitrary Arrest of Mr. Muneer Aljasas” (Statement in Arabic) November 13, 2009

NGA to vote on Gaza Resolution: November 4, 2009 A global coalition of civil society organizations from every corner of the world, ranging from Human Rights Now in Japan to the South African Council of Churches, have urged members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to support the recommendations of the Goldstone Report and work to adopt a resolution which will ensure accountability for victims of the Gaza conflict earlier this year. The organizations urge the international community to demonstrate its unequivocal support for human rights and the protection of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. “The international community must demonstrate resolve on the issue of accountability on both sides of this conflict and ensure that international law is upheld. It is this approach which will strengthen the chances of peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians,” the letter states. There are currently 56 signatories, including Human Rights First Society (HRFS), of the letter.  Letter with signatures.

International Religious Freedom Report 2009 October 26, 2009 Freedom of religionin Saudi Arabia is neither recognized nor protected under the law and is severely restricted in practice. The country is a monarchy and the King is head of both state and Government. The legal system is based on the Government’s official application of Islamic laws. Sunni Islam is the official religion.  As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious services. This right was not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited, and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) continued to conduct raids on private non-Muslim religious gatherings. Although the Government also confirmed its stated policy to protect the right to possess and use personal religious materials, it did not provide for this right in law, and the CPVPV sometimes confiscated the personal religious materials of non-Muslims. More. . .

Thirty-one International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) members and 24 other organisations condemn harsh crackdown on press freedom (ANHRI/IFEX) – 23 October 2009 – Calling on the Moroccan government to stop the current crackdown against press freedom 31 IFEX members, and others, including Human Rights First Society (HRFS) condemn the recent arrests and harassment of journalists and independent press.  We, the undersigned organizations (see article) defending freedom of expression, call on the Moroccan government to stop the current crackdown against press freedom. Repression of free expression rights has been escalating for the last three months. Imprisoning journalists and confiscating papers in Morocco is a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Moroccan government is a party. We condemn the politically motivated trials and the on-going harassment of journalists who are carrying out their professional duties by reporting on matters of public interest. n solidarity with the Moroccan press, we request that the government immediately stop this crackdown against press freedom by lifting the ban on “Akhbar al-Youm”, overturning the criminal cases filed against journalists and repealing legislation that allows for criminal defamation. More…

Condemnation of Recent Floggings in the Kingdom Human Rights First Society (HRFS) condemns the handling of the youth involved in the rioting and looting in Al Khobar and Dammam on National Day, September 23, 2009. HRFS strongly declares that physical punishments, such as flogging, are not acceptable and should be stopped in Saudi Arabia.  Also, due process and the right of a fair trial were disregarded in this case. These youth were denied access to the courts prior to their floggings and they did not have the representation of legal counsel.  HRFS urges the Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia to examine this case and take the necessary steps that will insure fair and open hearings in court in cases such as this.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS): Mourning Mohamed El-Sayed Said October 13, 2009   The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies would like to join all those striving for freedom, justice, and human dignity in mourning the death of prominent intellectual and rights advocate Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed Said, who passed away after a long life of struggle. Throughout his life, Dr. Said remained a tireless supporter of popular struggles in Egypt and the Arab world, a partisan in the battle for independence and liberation from all forms of economic, political, and military dependency, a defender of the right to self-determination and the freedom to administer national resources, and a fighter of all manner of repression brought to bear on peoples of this region by authoritarian regimes. More…

 

Amnesty International: Saudi Arabia must assist refugees fleeing Yemen fighting 18 September 2009  Saudi Arabia must not close its borders to civilians fleeing the conflict raging in Yemen’s Sa’da region, Amnesty International said on Thursday in a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior. The warning comes amid reports that some have been denied entry and others have been forcibly returned to the conflict zone where a reported bombing raid by government forces on Wednesday was said to have killed about 80 people.  More…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Issues Report, “Denied Dignity: Systematic Discrimination and Hostility toward Saudi Shia Citizens” September 3, 2009. This report documents the sharpest sectarian tensions in the kingdom in years, set off by clashes between Shia pilgrims and religious police in Medina in February 2009, followed by arbitrary arrests of Shia protesters in the Eastern Province in March. The closing of private Shia halls for communal prayer in Khobar, which began in July 2008 and the arrests of Shia religious and community leaders in Ahsa’ in 2009 also have contributed to the tensions. Read the report in (English) or (Arabic)

Saudi Arabia: New University a Chance to Expand Freedom: Website Promises Coed Classes, Academic Protections, September 23, 2009 (New York) – The opening  of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thulwa, Saudi Arabia, will test whether the kingdom is prepared to expand academic freedoms and women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today.  “The question is whether KAUST will live up to its apparent commitments to freedom and to gender equality,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It remains to be seen whether the university will be an island of freedom in an ocean of repression, or whether it can help spread freedoms to other parts of the kingdom.” More…English …Arabic

“Human Rights and Saudi Arabia’s Counterterrorism Response: Religious Counseling, Indefinite Detention, and Flawed Trials,” a new HRW 27-page report documents Saudi Arabia’s response to threats and acts of terrorism since 2003, including the indefinite detentions of thousands of people, some of them peaceful political dissidents. The domestic intelligence agency, the mabahith, which runs its own prisons, has prevented effective judicial oversight. Saudi Arabia should ensure the right to judicial review for anyone detained, and the right to a fair trial for anyone charged with a crime, the report says.  More… English …Arabic

Saudi Arabia – human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism 22 July 2009  The Saudi Arabian authorities have launched a sustained assault on human rights under the façade of countering terrorism, Amnesty International said in a new report on Wednesday.

Thousands of people have been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy, while others have been killed in uncertain circumstances. Hundreds more people face secret and summary trials and possible execution. Many are reported to have been tortured in order to extract confessions or as punishment after conviction.  More…English …Arabic

Two human rights activists’ Twitter pages blocked  August 24, 2009 Reporters Without Borders is disturbed to learn that access to the Twitter pages of two Saudi human rights activists, Walid Abdelkhair and Khaled al-Nasser, has been blocked since last week, apparently because of the human rights content they had been posting on the micro-blogging webservice.

“We condemn the blocking of these cyber-dissidents’ Twitter pages and we call for their immediate restoration,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This situation is very worrying and is symptomatic of a growing crackdown on Saudi Internet users.” More…

PRESS RELEASE – HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: August 23, 2009 CIVILIAN PROTECTION INITIATIVE GROUP STATEMENT: On August 19, 2009, coordinated truck bombings in Baghdad killed at least 95 civilians and wounded about 600 others. On August 10, two truck bombings in northern Iraq and a series of bomb attacks in Baghdad left at least 48 civilians dead and about 250 wounded. These are only the latest in a series of deadly attacks against Iraqi civilians that began in June. The victims of these terrible attacks are ordinary women, children, and men.  We, human rights organizations and activists working in the Middle East and North Africa, join the mourning of their loved ones and express our grave concern about these continuing attacks in Iraq and elsewhere in the region that target or indiscriminately harm civilians.  We therefore call on all parties to conflicts, states and non-state armed groups, to declare an immediate and unconditional halt all attacks that target or indiscriminately harm civilians, whether in reprisal or for any other purpose. And we urge leaders and activists in every country to insist that these attacks come to an end, and to hold accountable those responsible.

Adala Association, Morocco;

Algerian League for Human Rights; Algeria

Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship (AFDC), Jordan;

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies; Egypt;

Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, Syria;

Hewar Foundation for Democratic Development, Yemen;

Human Rights First Society (HRFS), Saudi Arabia;

Human Rights Watch, USA;

Mada Center, Morocco;

National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, Syria;

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Observatory of Human and Environmental Development, Jordan;

Tunisian League for Human Rights; Tunisia.  More … English … Arabic

Saudi Arabia: Women’s Rights Promises Broken:
Evidence Shows Male Permission Still Being Required for Surgery, Travel  – July 8, 2009
Saudi officials continue to require women to obtain permission from male guardians to conduct their most basic affairs, like traveling or receiving medical care, despite government assertions that no such requirements exist, Human Rights Watch said today. The government made its assertions most recently in June 2009, to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. More (English)… (Arabic)

Saudi Arabia: Shura Council Passes Domestic Worker Protections – Cabinet Should Strengthen Bill before Enacting into Law  – July 10, 2009 (New York) – Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council passed a bill on July 8, 2009, to improve legal protections for the estimated 1.5 million domestic workers in the country, but the measure still falls short of international standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill goes from the Shura Council, an appointed consultative body, to the cabinet, which can make further changes before it is enacted into law.  More (English)… (Arabic)

Hunger Strike at Al-Ha’ir Prison for Lack of  Water July 1, 2009 According to an SMS message sent to HRFS a hunger strike started today July 1, 2009 in Wards 12 and 13 of the Al-Ha’ir Prison which houses 196 prisoners.   More…

Releasing the Bulk of Prisoners From Awamia, but What about Kamel Alahmad? July 1, 2009  The plan to release the bulk of Shiite prisoners in Awamia and the Qatif area has realized 18 releases at the time of this statement. Although HRFS welcomes this way over due step we loudly condemn the continued incarceration of Mr. Kamel Abbas Alahmad, Mr. Hussein Hassan Alrabie, Hassan Alzaher from Awamiah and Mr. Yassir Ali Alfaraj. More…

Mr. AlMuhanna was released June 30, 2009 from the general prison in Alkhobar. Mr. Abdullah Salih AlMuhanna from the Shiite religious minority was arrested on Monday May, 25th 2009 for holding group prayers(Jama’ah) in his own home. He was held in custody in Alkhobar police station. On June 19, 2009 Mr. Abdullah Salih AlMuhanna was transferred from Alkhobar police station custody to Alkhobar general prison. He was held in prison without seeing a judge. The Saudi penal code stipulates that no one should be held in custody for more than five days without seeing a judge.

Saudi Arabia: Drop ‘Cross-Dressing’ Charges: June 24, 2009 Human Rights Watch (HRW) Calls on Saudi authorities to drop charges against 67 men who were arrested in Riyadh on June 13, 2009, reportedly for wearing women’s clothing, violate basic human rights to privacy and freedom of expression. More… English

Amnesty International URGENT ACTION REQUEST. Death Penalty/Alleged juvenile offenders. June 18, 2009 SAUDI ARABIA Four Iraqi nationals are at risk of imminent execution for alleged offences reported to have been committed while they were below the age of 18. They were convicted and sentenced to death after unfair trials. All four were not given legal assistance or representation and they were sentenced after secret and summary trials. Theyall claim that they are innocent. They are held in Rafha prison, near the border with Iraq. More. . .

Dr Saud al-Hashimi has been on a hunger strike at Dhahban prison in western Saudi Arabia since 1 June 2009. On 5 and 6 June he is reported to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated for refusing to consume food; he was stripped of all his clothes, except his underwear, shackled and dragged from his cell and placed in a severely cold cell for about five hours. He is now reported to be in need of medical treatment. Amnesty International calls for appeals to His Majesty King ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud, The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior are requested. More. . .

Human Rights First Society Responds To UPR The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Saudi Arabia was adopted on June 10, 2009 by the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations (UN). Human Rights First Society (HRFS) commends the HRC of the United Nations for carrying out this important review. HRFS calls upon the government of Saudi Arabia to match its rhetoric for human rights’ changes with open and transparent discussion! More. . . HRFS STATEMENTS

Human rights defenders write open letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council. 11 June, 2009. Human Rights First Society joined other NGOs in warning that recent “extraordinary attacks” by states on United Nations human rights experts at the Human Rights Council was “severely eroding the Council’s legitimacy and credibility.”

Excellencies, We are civil society organizations from throughout the world that have contributed to the Human Rights Council and its work since its establishment. We have observed with increasing concern developments in the Council, including at the current 11^th Session, that are undermining the work of the Council’s Special Procedures. This session has seen extraordinary personal attacks by some States on the integrity of mandate holders and specific threats to their independence. Read the entire letter.

Saudi business woman and women’s rights activist joins Human Rights First Society (HRFS) May 30, 2009 Kholood Salih Alfahad, a Saudi business woman and woman activist who is coordinating and working on a new petition for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia which will be submitted in person to His Majesty the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al saud, has joined Human Rights First Society as an active declared member.

Human Rights Council Adopts Outcomes of Universal Periodic Review on Saudi Arbia 10 June 2009. More. . .

Human Rights Watch welcomes the UPR report (June 2009) on Saudi Arabia, which records Saudi Arabia’s acknowledgment that human rights violations occur and its commitment to ending them. . .  We (HRW) support the report’s recommendations that Saudi Arabia promulgate a law regulating nongovernmental organizations in compliance with international standards, and that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly be fully respected, especially for human rights defenders. More…

Human Rights Watch News: UN: Saudi Arabia Pledges End of Men’s Control Over Women. Commitments Also Made to UN on Juvenile Death Penalty, Domestic Workers June 10, 2009 Geneva – Saudi Arabia made important commitments on women’s rights, on ending the juvenile death penalty and on other human rights issues during its review by the UN Human Rights Council on June 10, 2009 and should now work to carry out these reforms rapidly, Human Rights Watch said today. More. . . in English

Morals police takes aim at newspapers in Saudi Arabia By Souhail Karam, Reuters. May 25, 2009. RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s religious police said on Monday they would sue newspapers for defamation after a series of press reports alleging abuses by their members. Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, head of the independent Human Rights First Society, condemned the plans to sue journalists. “Does the commission want the media to turn a blind eye to violations?” It’s the commission’s action that portrays itself not what is reported about it. Some people think the commission’s existence imposes an undesired control over society,” he said.

Saudis’ Local Elections Delayed for Two Years – Amnesty: May 19, 2009 by Michael Slackman. New York Times. CAIRO – Saudi Arabia’s brief and limited experiment with electoral democracy has suffered another setback with an announcement that the royal family has decided to postpone local council elections by at least two years. More…

Ibrahim Al Mugaiteeb, President of HRFS offers the following analysis. “Although changes are positive, if they come too late they can lead to major fiascos. We need a more definite master plan. I mean we are building huge women’s universities and promoting education for Saudi women but contradicting ourselves by allowing the requirement for a male guardian to exist. Is it right to have a Ph.D. holder asking permission from her father or husband to travel or make simple decisions.”

International: May 12, 2009 Juveniles among 5 men beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Two men who were juveniles at the time of their alleged crimes were among five men beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Amnesty International has revealed. More…

Maxime Verhagen, Dutch Foreign Minister, visits Saudi Arabia and Qatar – 11 – 13 May 2009 | Minister Verhagen will discuss economic relations, energy security, and the political situation in the Middle East. He will also discuss human rights, with both the authorities and civil society organisations. This is Mr Verhagen’s first visit to the Gulf region. More…
May 13, 2009 In his various meetings Mr Verhagen stressed that religion or culture cannot be an excuse for violating human rights. ‘There is a willingness to take measures to improve the human rights situation – for example an initiative to assess new legislation in the light of human rights conventions signed by Saudi Arabia – but there is still a long way to go.’ More…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) : General Assembly Members Should Not Reward Rights Abusers with Votes. April 21, 2009 (New York) – Serious human rights violations in Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia undermine their candidacies for the May 12, 2009 election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, a global coalition of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) said in a letter released today. More…

Letter from numerous Civil Society Organizations in the Arab Region. A letter regarding the reelection of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Human Rights Council was released on April 22, 2009. More…

Human Rights Watch News: United Nations: Lack of Competition Mars Vote on Human Rights Council while US Re-Engagement and Defeat of Azerbaijan Are Positive Results – May 12, 2009.  With the exception of Azerbaijan, all were elected to the council. But Saudi Arabia, China, and Cuba came in at the very bottom of their regional slates. More…

With Shiites rising across the region, Saudi Arabia’s grow impatient. By Caryle Murphy | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor from the April 27, 2009 edition. Older leaders among the minority aim to peacefully address discrimination but warn that younger Shiites are pushing for militancy. More…

April 21, 2009 – Saudi laws regarding a minimum age for marriage could be changed within a year, a prominent human rights activist in the conservative Muslim state said on Tuesday. Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, founder and president of the Human Rights First Society, recommended the minimum age should be set at 18, as the government reviews marriage of underage girls amid growing international criticism. More…

Child marriage case showcases deep splits in Saudi society. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – April 16, 2009 – The refusal of a Saudi judge to annul a marriage contract that weds an 8-year-old girl to a man in his late 40s has brought into sharp relief the tribal and religious forces complicating this country’s march to modernity.   More…

VIDEO: Girls against child marriage. Saudi activist Wajiha Al Huweidar, who helped found the Saudi Society for the Defense of Women’s Rights, put together a video quoting Saudi girls saying why they are against child marriage. The video, “I Am a Child, Not a Woman”, is posted on YouTube and has not been blocked by the Saudi government. More…

Tribunals is an Attempt to Obscure Oppressions and Thwart Any Possible Political Reforms in Saudi Arabia . In the past few weeks, several media outlets reported a beginning of secret tribunes for hundreds of alleged-Saudi terrorists (991 defendants); for that purpose, several ad hoc security courts have been established under the auspices of the Saudi justice system. The names of the accused, their indictments, their names of judges, exact dates and times of courts should have been announced; however, that did not happen and judges unfortunately went on with absolute secret-court proceedings. The presiding judges may have been under the illusion that justice would be best served under secrecy and they thought that it is within their discretions to try the accused citizens behind closed doors. We have waited for a long time hoping that some other human-right concerned groups would blow the whistle and bring the case to the world’s intention, to be only disappointed by the complete oblivion of Saudi organizations and intellectuals. More…

Saudi King Shakes Up Government RIYADH (AFP) – King Abdullah on Saturday made sweeping changes to his government, axing the head of the religious police and appointing Saudi Arabia’s first-ever woman deputy minister in the biggest shakeup since he took over the throne.In major changes that appeared to target conservative religious clerics who dominate the judiciary, he also ousted powerful Supreme Judicial Council head Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaidan, whom Saudi activists say had blocked reforms for years. More…

Optimistic In an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, a Saudi human rights activist who has suffered a lot from oppression, welcomed the development [appointment of Norah al-Fayez as deputy Minister of Education]. He considered it a vitally important step forward. Mr al-Mugaiteeb is optimistic that further developments will follow soon, especially regarding the rights of women and the Shiite minority. More…

Saudi Court Refuses to Block Marriage of Girl, 8, to Older Man – FOX News, April 14, 2009 It’s a sad moment for women’s rights and particularly of young girls in Saudi Arabia. It’s a gross and huge violation of human rights,” added Ibrahim AlMugaiteeb, president and founder of the Human Rights First Society.  More…

HRFS Protesting Censorship on the Internet in Saudi Arabia (in Arabic)  11/04/2009 More…

URGENT APPEAL for Stopping Human Rights Abuses in Awamiah (in Arabic)  23/3/2009 More…

Internet Enemies.Saudi Arabia has been identified by Reporters Without Borders as a country which censors news and information online with an almost systematic repression of Internet users.  Bloggers, Internet sites and services are blocked on a regular basis. The imprisonment of blogger Fouad al-Farhan and the arrest of the blogger Hamoud Ben Saleh are just two cases cited in this report.  More

Recommendations Released: –FIDH and HRFS release Human Rights recommendations to the Saudi Governement. The report includes Arbitrary Detention of Human Rights Defenders, Migrant Workers, Women’s Rights and Minorities and Freedom of Religion.  More. . .

Partnership Formed (Press Release): The Al Waref Institute for Humanitarian Studies, headquartered in Washington D.C., and the Human Rights First Society in Saudi Arabia have entered into partnership and cooperation under the leadership of Al Waref founder Marah Bukai and the Human Rights First Society president Mr. Ibrahim Al Mugaiteeb. More…


Jan ter Laak, Secretary of Bridging the Gulf, passed away March 11, 2009. He was a great and cherished friend of Human Rights First Society. The close relationship between HRFS President Ibrahim Al Mugaiteeb and Jan ter Laak is reflected in this correspondence recently sent by Mr. Al Mugaiteeb to his friend:

Since our first meeting at my home in Dammam Saudi Arabia I saw a wonderful human and felt how sensitive of a person you are. Our discussions about various issues have given me invariably alternative ways to tackle problems on the ground for a human rights activist in a country like Saudi Arabia.
You are a huge manifestation for the globalization of the Human Rights Movement.
I cherish every minute I spent with you and have to say that wonderful individuals like you have their place kept in the human rights movement history of several countries around the world and certainly in The Netherlands.
I love and salute you my brother and friend Jan.

International Women’s Day.
March 8, 2009, is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world. International Women’s Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; of women who have struggled to participate in society on an equal footing with men. This day is steeped in a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. More…

Open Letter to President Obama
about Promoting Democracy and Defending Human Rights in the Middle East March 10, 2009. Sign the petition today. More…
Fraker Accepts Extension The U.S. Embassy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has asked U.S. Ambassador Ford M. Fraker to continue serving as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia until April 2009. More…
Working for Human Rights High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay pledges to work for the full implementation of human rights throughout the world. More…

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