Saudi Arabia and human rights activists fight over the image at the G20

Beirut, Lebanon — For Saudi Arabia, hosting 20 group summits in Riyadh this year was to solidify its global position. The heads of state of the wealthiest nations in the world were amazed by the rugged beauty of the kingdom and the changing society, and were urged to drift the war in Yemen and the murder of prominent journalists in the past.

To critics of human rights records in Saudi Arabia, this event looked very different. This is a great opportunity to emphasize the abuse of the kingdom and embarrass world leaders to embarrass the de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is not expected to meet the wishes of either side. Instead, the coronavirus effectively reduced the G20 summit to a giant webinar, as in many meetings this year.

That may not be completely bad news for Prince Mohammed. Despite fierce campaigns by activists, no state has chosen to boycott virtual events on Saturdays and Sundays, making it an important step in prince rehabilitation among world leaders.

“Obviously it didn’t go as planned, but it could have been a blessing for Saudi Arabia,” said Karen Young, a resident student at the American Enterprise Institute for Middle Eastern Economic Studies.

Heads of state and other senior officials who may have hesitated to appear in Riyadh’s photos, she said, are less likely to lose at online events, but the summit remains a place in a powerful country that is considered an ally. It is advancing the Kingdom’s goal of claiming.

“Virtual meetings can leverage Saudi Arabia’s strengths to prevent embarrassing accidents,” she said.

Saturday and Sunday summits will address urgent global issues such as fighting the coronavirus, how to restart the affected economies, and potential financial assistance to poor pandemic-hit countries. ..

Also on the agenda and discussed at the supplementary event are women’s empowerment and sustainable energy development.

President Trump will be attending, according to senior government officials, but the agenda emphasizes that the United States was unable to control the spread of the virus and that Mr. Trump prefers traditional energy sources such as oil and coal. there is a possibility.

The G20 is a forum for 19 countries with the world’s largest economies and the European Union to discuss the world economy. The chairmanship of an organization changes between groups of five countries, with one country in each group holding its position at a time. Saudi Arabia, a group with Canada, Australia and the United States, was first appointed president last December.

The Kingdom has the title as a recognition of the importance of the world’s largest oil exporter in the world economy and the opportunity to introduce the vast social and economic reforms defended by Prince Mohammed, whose father, King Salman, became the monarch of Saudi Arabia. Celebrated this title as. 2015.

Since then, Prince Mohammed has lifted some restrictions on women, promoted entertainment and tourism, and pursued plans to diversify the economy from oil. He also led the Saudi army into a serious humanitarian crisis in Yemen’s civil war, trapping clergy, women’s rights activists, and even members of the royal family.

In 2018, Saudi agents trapped, killed, and dismantled disputed Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, damaging Prince Mohammed’s reputation and calling on activists to punish Saudi Arabia for such human rights abuses. I did.

These activists seize the presidency of the G20 kingdom, campaign for their purposes, and encourage group members to boycott the summit or use it as a platform for the release of detainees. I did.

Last month, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz gave a keynote speech at a related event hosted by Saudi Arabia, calling on Khashoggi and a group of women detained after opposition to the kingdom’s previous ban. I did. About women driving. The ban was lifted in 2018, but some women remain in custody.

“If this conference does not agree to violate these human rights and those of other countries in the world, we cannot expect to realize an inclusive society in which we all strive,” Stiglitz said in a video of the event. I did. Called the Think 20 Summit, it was captured by activists but not published on the event’s website.

Mayors of Paris, Los Angeles, London and New York declined invitations to the G20 event, and many rights groups held an alternative virtual summit this weekend to highlight the Kingdom’s human rights record.

However, critics seemed to have had a limited impact on the Leaders Summit’s Headline event, but those who wanted individual speakers to use their platform to raise rights issues. There is also.

“This is too important. We must plan Covid’s strategy and address major economic issues,” said Adam Coogle, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. Group lobbying. “Some thought it was a problem for Saudi Arabia to receive this reward.”

Spokespersons from the State Department and the French and German Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to requests for comment on whether the Kingdom’s human rights records were taken into account when deciding to attend the summit.

“The killing of Jamal Khashoggi is a vicious crime and we have repeatedly called for the practice of justice,” a British government spokesman wrote. The Foreign Minister added that he raised the issue with the Saudi Arabian government during his visit in March.

Mr. Coogle said he was impressed by the Saudi Arabian G20 program’s focus on empowering women, while prominent Saudi Arabian female activists were “in imprisonment, silence, or in exile.”

“It requires the attention of the attendees,” he said. “It cannot be wiped out under the rug.”

The report was contributed by Mark Landler in London, Norimitsu Onishi in Paris, Katrin Bennhold in Berlin, Lara Jakes and Michael Crowley in Washington.

Saudi Arabia and human rights activists fight over the image at the G20

Source link Saudi Arabia and human rights activists fight over the image at the G20

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