No travel for Samar Badawi

A new piece of hateful cruelty and suppression out of Saudi Arabia, land of glorious life-giving oil. Via the Gulf Center for Human Rights:

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is deeply concerned following the travel ban that has been imposed on human rights defender Samar Badawi, who works on defending people’s rights in Saudi Arabia, in particular the rights of prisoners of conscience.

On 2 December 2014, Badawi was informed by staff in the Passport Office at King Abdulaziz International Airport that she is not allowed to travel abroad anymore by an order from the Ministry of Interior, without any reason given or any prior investigations.

She was on her way to get a flight to participate in the 16th European Union (EU) NGOs Forum on Human Rights being held on 4 and 5 December in Brussels, Belgium. According to the EU, “The EU-NGO Forum on Human Rights is an annual conference that provides a venue for direct interaction and in depth discussion between representatives of global civil society and the EU institutions, EU Member States and international organisations on various topics related to the promotion and protection of human rights.” The theme of this year’s Forum is “Freedoms of expression on line and offline”.

So naturally the Saudis decided the best thing to do was to grab away Samar Badawi’s freedom of expression and travel, in order to prevent her from exercising her freedom of expression in Brussels, where Saudia Arabia might come off not looking too good.

Reports confirm that the travel ban was ordered by the Ministry of Interior following her speech in September about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Badawi appeared before the Council and called for the release of her husband, prominent human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this year. To watch Badawi’s presentation at the UN HRC (in Arabic), see the following link:

The GCHR believes that this travel ban was imposed on Samar Badawi as a result of her human rights activities, in particular her work to defend freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia, and is a blatant attempt to prevent her from carrying out advocacy with international bodies such as the EU or the UN.

Remember Saudi Arabia as you tool around in your car.





  1. lpetrich says

    Saudi Arabia is a textbook example of the “resource curse”: resource riches being associated with social backwardness. I once saw an article called “Oil and Democracy Don’t Mix”, which in which someone plotted measure of democracy against GDP per capital. Beyond a certain value, countries start to democratize, except if they have a lot of oil. Some oil-rich countries have standards of living comparable to industrialized countries, but politically, they seem like something out of the Middle Ages.

    Strictly speaking, it must be noted that the US does not get much of its oil from Saudi Arabia. But many other nations do, and a disturbance of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports would cause a major crunch. Most recently, Saudi Arabia has been upping production, with a lot of speculation that it wants to hurt Iran with a price war.

  2. johnthedrunkard says

    Considering how Saudi Arabia WANTS to look, how can they feel shame about anything?

    In the early 50s they turned down the chance to open a consulate in New York. Why? They were afraid their slaves might escape.

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