Pressure from international human rights organizations is mounting at the G20 summit to take a serious stand and act against the crimes of the Saudi regime and its human rights violations.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the fiancée of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed last year in a horrific crime, called on the G20, which the Kingdom will soon assume its rotating presidency, to obtain commitments from the kingdom on press freedom and tackle the murders of reporters around the world.
Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Delaware and Khadija Genghis, the fiancé of the Saudi journalist who was killed at his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, launched the appeal, published in almost a dozen languages, on the occasion of World Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
“There is a need for a massive mobilization at the international level, since more than 90 percent of crimes committed against reporters in countries experiencing war or living in peace remain unpunished,” they said.
The call underscores the responsibility of the G20 in this regard, as Saudi Arabia will soon assume the rotating presidency of the group, noting that the Kingdom ranks 172 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index in which China ranks 177th. Turkey is ranked 157th, and Russia 149th, which, according to the organization, regularly and systematically violates the right to information.
They remind G20 leaders that a year and a month after his murder, Khashoggi’s body has not yet been found, and that 32 journalists remain in Saudi prisons.
They also denounce that a number of murders of journalists have not been known or punished in reference to the murders of Daphne Caruana in Malta, Gauri Lancish in India, Javier Valdez and Miroslava British in Mexico, Jean Pegirimana in Burundi and Pavel Sheremet in Ukraine.
“It is the duty of the G20 leaders to act,” the appeal said, “and not only to be passive bystanders for the murders of journalists.”
They called on the group’s leaders to “get clear commitments from Saudi Arabia on press freedom, starting with the release of imprisoned journalists,” in order to ensure that the Saudi presidency of the group does not become a “permit to kill” journalists.
The kingdom’s choice to host the G20 summit next year has been widely criticized by the United Nations and human rights organizations.
UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Kalamar called on world powers to reconsider the next G20 summit in Saudi Arabia if the perpetrators of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were not held to account.
Kalamar, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings who presided over an investigation into the case, said in her report last month that she had found “credible evidence” referring to the “legal responsibility of senior Saudi officials, including the crown prince,” for the operation.
During a visit to Washington, Kalamar said the upcoming G20 summit in November 2020 in Riyadh provides an opportunity to pressure Saudi Arabia.