Joint statement on Canada’s position regarding the detention of Saudi women’s rights defenders

Voices joint other organizations in a statement supporting Canada's position on women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia and demand their release from detention.


Ottawa—August 9, 2018

The undersigned organizations express our support to Canada for its recent position on the detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. We join Canada in urging Saudi Arabia to release women’s rights activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada, and commend Minister Freeland for her uncompromising stand for human rights, and for her bold leadership in walking the talk on women’s rights globally.

The detention of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada is part of a larger crackdown on civil society and women activists in Saudi Arabia. As reported by Amnesty International, an increasing number of leading women’s rights activists and campaigners have recently been arbitrarily detained for their peaceful human rights work, including Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef –– all leading advocates against Saudi Arabia’s driving ban and repressive guardianship system for women.  

Saudi Arabia has a history of silencing vocal human rights activists. Measures taken by the Saudi Arabian government have included arbitrary detention, restrictions on the rights of women and travel bans on activists. These tactics of intimidation and harassment violate international human rights.

We reiterate our call on Saudi Arabia to immediately release activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada, and all women’s rights activists currently in detention.

We urge the international community to join Canada in calling for the unequivocal respect of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

For the complete text of the statement and signatories, please click here