European Parliament votes strong resolution for women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia:

The European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted the resolution on women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia during its last session on 31 May, firmly condemning the ongoing repression of human rights defenders “known for their campaign against the ban on women driving and in favour of abolishing the male guardianship system” and calling on the Saudi authorities to end all forms of harassment against them, including at the judicial level.

Prior to the resolution, FIDH organised key advocacy meetings to present its findings on the discrimination against women and women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia in the new report: “Condemned to silence”. The resolution recognises this contribution and reiterates a number of its recommendations. Indeed, the MEPs recall that the “Saudi political and social system remains undemocratic and discriminatory, makes women second-class citizens” and are “dismayed by the existence of the male guardianship system” which remains “the most serious impediment to women’s rights.” The resolution calls on the EU to propose a UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, to table a resolution on the situation of human rights defenders at the next UN Human Rights Council, to make the situation of women’s rights defenders a permanent item on the agenda of the annual EU-Gulf Cooperation Council summit and importantly, to consider targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for grave human rights violations. We will continue to support the European Union’s efforts in this direction.

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