Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Amnesty International calls for united front against Saudi Arabia

Analysis
              
                
       Screenshot Analysis Screenshot
Gerardo Duncan | 10 August, 2018, 13:31

The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's ambassador to Riyadh and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for urging the release of rights activists.

However, foreign ministry spokeswoman Marie-Pier Baril stressed that Canada would "always stand up for the protection of human rights. including women's rights, and freedom of expression around the world".

Just two months ago, Saudi women were given the right to drive a auto, yet several of the country's most prominent women's rights activists - including some who fought for years to drive - were arrested earlier this year on national security grounds.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia "will deal with any interference decisively", dismissing Canada's position as "built on misleading information", in a statement carried by state media.

Saudi officials have detained 15 women's rights and human rights activists since May.

Canadian Universities are scrambling to react, after Saudi Arabia suddenly cancelled scholarships and re-called students studying in this country.

A number of rights campaigners, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, have been arrested in the kingdom.

"Particularly in smaller and rural institutions where many of our Canadian students don't necessarily have the opportunities of living in a large urban centre where they would be exposed to many different types of cultural experiences, it's even more important for us that we bring that kind of diversity to our campus", Weeks said.

"We're waiting for answers on how Saudi Arabia intends to go forward with the relationship", she said.

"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in Canadian domestic affairs", the Foreign Ministry said. Calling them "friends and partners", Ms Nauert added that both sides "need to diplomatically resolve this together". Canada's ambassador, Dennis Horak, is not in Riyadh.

"It is a significant portion of our barley exports", Dahl said, noting the market had been considered a stable market, noting the industry saw growth potential there given ongoing food sustainability concerns within Saudi Arabia.

The president of Okanagan College said the school estimates that if its 65 new and returning students from Saudi Arabia don't attend the school next year, its revenue will decrease by $850,000.

Some analysts perceive the move as both a power play for the kingdom's young leader and a demonstration put on for the benefit of countries with stronger ties to Saudi Arabia than Canada.

Saudi Arabia says it will withdraw all of its students studying in Canada in an intensifying feud between the two countries.

Human rights groups and Canadian and other Western diplomats have made repeated calls for the release of Raif Badawi, whose wife received Canadian citizenship in July.

Saudi neighbours Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have voiced solidarity with Riyadh, according to media reports. Last year, the kingdom also recalled its ambassador to Germany following a testy exchange with that country's foreign affairs minister over Saudi Arabia's military presence in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia doesn't want to be lectured to by the West and they are delivering the message.

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