Saudi authorities refuse to allow a UN team to inspect its prisons

A human rights source said that the Saudi authorities refused to allow a United Nations team to inspect its prisons and interview prisoners of conscience and human rights activists.

The source told Saudi Leaks that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention submitted an official request regarding Saudi Arabia’s allegations of its willingness to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and its unique mechanisms.

The source indicated that the UN team’s request was repeated in August 2021 and at the end of last month, but the Saudi authorities rejected it again to conceal their human rights violations.

The Working Group reiterated its concerns about the pattern of violations practised by Saudi Arabia in arrests and has repeatedly made clear that widespread and systematic imprisonment may constitute crimes against humanity in certain circumstances.

The statement came after the arrest of minor Abdullah Al-Haiti. The Working Group proposed a date for a visit, which it had re-requested in August 2021, between September and October 2022.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has requested a visit to Saudi Arabia for 15 years without Saudi Arabia responding to the request. In 2008, it requested to visit Saudi Arabia. The request was also made in April 2011 and again in August 2021.

During its 30 years of operation, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention monitored 65 cases in which Saudi Arabia violated international law and obligations.

Over the past years, the Saudi government has promoted that it deals positively with the United Nations and its unique mechanisms, primarily by regularly responding to messages sent by working groups and special rapporteurs, confirming that this promotion is unrealistic.

In addition to ignoring requests for visits, the responses and reports provided by the Saudi government contain misinformation and unrealistic information.

In addition, the Saudi government ignores the opinions of the Working Group, which clearly show violations of international laws and official obligations, as it continues to arrest individuals, including detainees, based on expressing an opinion and defending human rights. The Saudi government has executed individuals that the Working Group confirmed as arbitrarily detained.

Human rights organizations assert that the Saudi government’s record of dealing with UN mechanisms and working groups is terrible. Still, the reality confirms its disregard for legal opinions and its violation of its international obligations. It is currently trying to use and deal with these mechanisms to promote a change in the human rights file.

The repeated request of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit Saudi Arabia, due to the systematic violations of international law in the matter of arrests and deprivation of liberty, has not been responded to so far.

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