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Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Volume 680: debated on Monday 14 September 2020

Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Defenders

The following is an extract from oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on Tuesday 8 September 2020.

I am pleased to hear that the Minister is having robust conversations with the Saudis, but will the UK Government publicly call on the Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the five women human rights defenders who are still being detained, including Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada, and for all charges to be dropped against the 13 women’s rights defenders currently on trial for peaceful protest and activism?

It is important that we recognise that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking significant steps in the right direction, and we encourage and support it to do so. The Foreign Secretary raised the release of those human rights defenders face-to-face on his visit to Riyadh just last month.

[Official Report, 8 September 2020, Vol. 679, c. 488.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, the right hon. Member for Braintree (James Cleverly):

An error has been identified in the response I gave to the hon. Member for Easington (Grahame Morris).

The correct response should have been:

It is important that we recognise that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking significant steps in the right direction, and we encourage and support it to do so. The Foreign Secretary raised the cases of those human rights defenders face-to-face on his visit to Riyadh.