- Bahrain Joint Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review 27th Session of the UPR Working Group
- KUWAIT: SARAH AL-DREES TRIAL OBSERVATION REPORT
- TRIAL OBSERVATION REPORT Concerning the prosecution of journalists from “Azamn” newspaper in Oman
- LET THEM SPEAK - Media and freedom of expression targeted in Yemen
- BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE: A Preliminary Inquiry: Tangible Protection Mechanisms for Women Human Rights Defenders in the MENA Region and Beyond
News from International Organizations
- Groups urge Boris Johnson to call for release of Nabeel Rajab
- Bahrain: Urgent Appeal for the Release of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab
- NGOs to Sec. Kerry: Send US Ambassador to Nabeel Rajab’s trial
- FIDH: NGOs call for human rights abuses to be addressed in the forthcoming EU-GCC Ministerial Meeting
- Twenty-Six NGOs Call for Immediate and Unconditional Release of Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, Prior to His Trial Tomorrow
Written by HRDs and Journalists
Civil Society Curtailed in Saudi Arabia & Qatar
Geneva, 10 March 2016 - The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) in co-operation with CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights Watch and FIDH held a well-attended side event, entitled “Civil Society Curtailed in Saudi Arabia & Qatar”, during the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) on 09 March 2016. The side event was chaired by John Fisher, the Geneva Director of Human Rights Watch.
The side event was opened by Fisher, who introduced the two speakers and stressed that the lack of civic space is a global problem, and then welcomed attention to these issues in the Gulf region.
James Mehigan, a barrister from the United Kingdom who conducted a GCHR human rights mission to Qatar, spoke about the findings of the report, entitled “Qatar, civil society and human rights: Lack of civil society space hinders work of human rights defenders”. Mehigan stated that “Qatar is a wealthy country with ambitions of playing a leading role in the international affairs of the Gulf region and beyond.” He added that “the best way it could play that role is by being an international leader in human rights. By starting to allow human rights defenders to work safely in an open civil society, Qatar can provide significant leadership by example across the entire region.”
Maryam Al-Khawaja, GCHR Co-Director, described the ongoing legal targeting of human rights defenders, as detailed in the upcoming GCHR report “Silenced Voices: The legal targeting of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia”. Al-Khawaja also talked about the massive human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and the need for the UNHRC to take serious action, while calling on Saudi Arabia’s responsibility to uphold its human rights obligations as a member of the HRC.
The meeting concluded with an informative question and answer session about possible mechanisms for accountability, and clarifications about the situation of human rights defenders and civil society in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Copies of GCHR’s reports were distributed during the event. Visit GCHR’s website at www.gc4hr.org to download and read the reports:
- Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) - Annual Report 2015: Human Rights Defenders in Prison and in Peril throughout the Gulf and Neighbouring Countries
- Qatar, civil society and human rights: Lack of civil society space hinders work of human rights defenders