Home » ESOHR News » To journalists, activists, and citizens interested in human rights in Saudi Arabia: A visit for the United Nations regarding the “contemporary forms of slavery”.

To journalists, activists, and citizens interested in human rights in Saudi Arabia: A visit for the United Nations regarding the “contemporary forms of slavery”.

Mrs. Gulnara Shahinian

لقراءته بالعربية اضغط هنا

Saudi Arabia has agreed to the visit of (the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery) of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations “Mrs. Gulnara Shahinian.” The visit, which will take 10 days from 19 until October 29, 2015, will cover (forced labor, forced marriage, begging networks, and child slavery, violence against women and girls and adolescents, sexual slavery, and the sale of wives, traditional slavery, debt bondage and serfdom “agricultural forced labor”, and other …..) both on the side of legislation and laws or in applications, prescribed to treat it through: (addressing the root causes of slavery, such as poverty, social exclusion and all forms of discrimination).

Additional details about their work in the link below:

What is the benefit of this visit?

Visits by the rapporteurs of the United Nations states, aimed at improving the human rights situation, across multiple sequential and interdependent and continuous steps:

First, it begins with an inspection visit.

Second: Monitoring the notes.

Third, make recommendations and proposals for reform and treatment.

What is the relationship between civil society activists, media, human rights organizations and this visit?

Basis thing, that the totality of the High Commissioner for Human Rights system works for both the relationship with the States and the relationship with activists at the same time, and does not work in any way on the relationship with one of them and neglecting the other.

Therefore, the civil society relationship with this event is important and fundamental, but everyone knows that Saudi authorities expose activists who communicate with the United Nations at risk, and are trying to block out various ways of civil society to communicate with the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Saudi Arabia does not want to allow a free communication between the independent members of the civil society and the United Nations, and is expected to create different barrier between the United Nations and civil society members, even by hiding flaws and abuses and violations.

But some Saudi human rights organizations abroad will try as far as possible to activate this visit in the middle of civil society, to stand against the official disinformation, which is expected in such events. One of the famous mislead is the “five-star prisons”, which the Saudi government tried to make to mislead the public opinion in an organized domestic and international campaign by giving deceiving information about Saudi prisons.

How to take advantage of this visit in the improvement of some aspects of human rights?

1.    Provide true information to the UN team on the scope of work planned, and part of it is described, above.

2.    Press on the Saudi government not to monopolizes the visit, they should give chances for citizens and residents to meet and continue to the delegation without censorship or pressure or threat. And that any attempt to the civil society to make use of the visit is a violation of the assets of the United Nations work.

3.    Highlighting issues related to planned work, such as violations that fall on foreign workers, clarify and practices monopoly of foreign workers working systems, some bad treatment that domestic workers or drivers received, the marriage forcibly, agricultural work which is more like exploitation, eradication practices, prisons and other destinations government against foreign workers … and others.

4.    Giving exact locations where violations of foreign workers are taking place, such as prison or deportation addresses and other points.

5.    Take advantage of the recommendations that will emerge after the visit to improve the human rights situation in the aspects of the recommendations, through the follow-up steps and stages of implementation of the recommendations.

Civil society must take advantage of this important visit, it is also important that we do not allow the state to monopolize the visit and mislead the next delegation. Civil society can benefit from this visit by educating public with human rights aspects, and improving the human rights situation in the aspects related to the subject of the Special Rapporteur.

There is another planned visit no less important, a visit to “the Special Rapporteur on the defense of human rights defenders,” Mr. Michel Forest, which is directly related to the detainees in the prisons who have called for the rights of the people such as “Saud al-Hashimi, Sheikh Tawfiq Al Amer, Dr. Mohammed al-Qahtani, Issa Alnekhaifi, Walid Abu al-Khair, Zakaria Al Safwan, Adeel Allabad, Fauzan Al Harbi, Dr. Abdullah al-Hamid, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Hamed ….” and other human rights defenders who face other violations, such as investigations and trials and commitments and travel bans and threats. This visit was approved by Saudi Arabia but made no exact schedule yet .

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