There has been an escalation of actions in the German parliament against human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, particularly efforts to support Saudi human rights defenders at risk.
The Qist Organization for human rights announced the adoption of two more cases by members of the German parliament through the “Parliamentarians Protecting Parliamentarians” program developed by the Bundestag.
The organization stated that this step comes after tireless advocacy efforts. The program aims to protect the rights of persecuted human rights defenders worldwide by drawing the attention of prominent political decision-makers to their plight.
German parliamentarians are adopting the cases of four Saudi human rights defenders. The latest case was humanitarian relief worker Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, which parliament member Peter Heidt adopted. Another case adopted was that of women’s rights advocate Aziza Al-Yousef by parliament member Ophelia Nick.
Al-Sadhan is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for his peaceful posts on social media, while Al-Yousef continues to face strict restrictions despite her release in 2019.
Nick explained her reason for taking this positive step: “Women like Aziza Al-Yousef have defended their rights despite the risks involved. In Germany, we can express our opinions without fear of similar punishments.”
She continued, “As a member of parliament, the ability to safely exercise this role is also a great privilege… That’s why I supported Aziza Al-Yousef’s case.”
Before that, parliament member Zaklin Nastić took on the case of human rights defender Israa Al-Ghomgham, who was initially sentenced to eight years in prison in 2021 for her peaceful human rights activities. A new ruling was issued against her in 2022, sentencing her to 13 years in prison.
At the same time, parliament member Omid Nouripour adopted the case of human rights defender Loujain Al-Hathloul, who was detained and tortured for promoting women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
Despite Al-Hathloul’s release, she remains under severe restrictions, including a travel ban.
In this regard, Nouripour said, “It is a great honour for me to support this remarkable defender of human rights, who has shown great courage… Loujain Al-Hathloul is an icon of the Saudi women’s rights movement.”
He noted that Al-Hathloul had been fighting for years to abolish the guardianship system that still prevails in many areas of life in Saudi Arabia.
The Bundestag’s campaign “Parliamentarians Protecting Parliamentarians” supports detained and threatened human rights defenders worldwide and provides German parliament members with various options to draw further attention to the supported human rights defenders.
This includes holding private meetings with relevant political stakeholders, organizing public events, and assisting in raising media interest to ensure that the German government frequently addresses their issues with their foreign counterparts.
Qist praised these efforts and worked with German parliament members to adopt the cases of more Saudi human rights defenders for support in the face of relentless suppression of freedom of expression and human rights activities in Saudi Arabia.