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News code: 28358
Published Date: Tuesday 8 October 2019 - 11:32:16
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HRW calls on France to "hold firm" against Saudi HR abuses

HRW calls on France to
World  - An international NGO slammed France for not "holding firm" against Saudi abuses, saying "Paris has until October 11 to endorse Australian-led joint statement highlighting serious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia."

During the last session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, 25 countries, including 15 from the European Union, supported an Australian-led joint statement, highlighting serious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, and calling on Saudi authorities to ensure truth and justice for the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, but France is not among them.

"It seems incomprehensible for France not to sign on with others in condemning Saudi Arabia's continued human rights abuses," said Human Rights Watch on Tuesday. "Not only does it contradict Macron's speeches, but it casts doubt on the sincerity of France's commitment to the values it proclaims, especially when it comes to defending them against countries like Saudi Arabia, who are also important clients, including of French weapons."

On October 1, 2019, France's President Macron stressed the need to defend fundamental rights and freedoms at a time when they are being attacked by authoritarian governments in a global context where "violations of fundamental rights and the most basic humanitarian law are no longer punished or sanctioned and are even less and less subject to effective criticism."

Macron also deplored the "unprecedented weakening of multilateralism." Furthermore, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for Gender Equality recently praised France's feminist diplomacy.

"Moreover, if France fails to seize the opportunity of a joint effort within the Human Rights Council to exert pressure on Saudi Arabia, it would risk contributing to the weakening of multilateralism and the Council itself. As for feminist diplomacy, keeping silent in the face of the persecution of feminists could make those words look like a diplomatic gimmick", the NGO added.

All 28 EU member states had previously endorsed a statement expressing concerns about Saudi Arabia's rights record at the Council's session in March. But repression against Saudi human rights activists has not waivered. Women still face discrimination, as four feminist activists are behind bars, others remain on trial, and torture allegations have not been credibly investigated.

HRW also called on France to endorse the Australian-led joint statement until October 11th, saying the country "should stand by its own words in condemning the Saudi authorities' blatant human rights violations."

 

News Code: 28358
Published Date: Tuesday 8 October 2019 - 11:32:16
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