UK Complicit in Human Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia

Tehran (IQNA)- A human rights group has expressed concern that the British government is complicit in human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, citing a lack of clarity on what the Gulf Strategic Fund (GSF) supports in the kingdom.

According to PressTV, a statement on Tuesday quoted activists as saying that uncertainty about what the GSF supports in the kingdom raises questions about whether the UK is getting stronger at a time when the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is deteriorating. Companies involved.

The GSF, which has so far awarded £70m ($80m) to six Persian Gulf countries, has come under fire from parliamentarians and rights groups for leaving the public largely in the dark about how it operates, the report added.

The latest report comes as women’s rights are removed from the description of what the GSF supports in Saudi Arabia, a week after Riyadh jailed a 34-year-old University of Leeds student and women’s rights activist for following and retweeting critics of the kingdom. Twitter.

In June last year, the UK government released a brief summary of GSF support, saying it “strengthens the strategic partnership and ensures mutual prosperity and security by supporting Saudi Vision 2030”. “. “.

But in the Saudi Arabia section of the new summary, published on August 26, a week after Salma al-Shehab’s 34-year prison sentence for her tweets made headlines, women’s rights are no longer mentioned.

Lina al-Hathloul, head of monitoring and communications at human rights group Alqst, said the recently released summary “fails to provide more clear and transparent answers” and asked how the GSF supports human rights in Saudi Arabia.

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“GSF funding still includes support for government agencies in Saudi Arabia that the UK may be complicit with or launder, committing human rights abuses,” he said.

“This includes the Human Rights Commission, which denied that Saudi Arabian women’s rights activists were being tortured despite seeing them in person.”

Dana Ahmed, Amnesty International’s Middle East and Persian Gulf researcher, described the fund as a “deep concern” that Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record of silencing dissent, executing individuals and ruthlessly suppressing the basic rights of citizens and residents should be investigated. .

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