GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT

'Regrettably, this statement fails to address the substantive concerns detailed in our latest report

on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia,' Amnesty International said.

The statement as reported in the media expressed the Kingdom's commitment to

implement the UN Convention against Torture, to cooperate with international human rights

bodies, and to set up governmental and non-governmental institutions to ensure the protection

and promotion of human rights.

This statement is similar to other statements made by the Saudi Arabian Deputy Foreign

Minister, Prince Turki bin Muhamad bin Saud Alkabeer, to the UN Commission on Human

Rights in Geneva today in which he affirmed that 'human rights are a non-negotiable objective',

and that ' the Kingdom and the other states members of the Organization of the Islamic

Conference are jointly seeking to promote the universality of human rights', and emphasizing

the support of the Saudi Arabian government to 'the commendable endeavours [of the UN

Human Rights Commission] to achieve the noble aims and objectives of the promotion of human

rights in a firm and steadfast manner'.

'These publicly stated commitments are a step in the right direction but they must be

translated into practice,' Amnesty International said. As a start, the organisation added, ' the

government should allow an Amnesty International delegation to visit the country to meet

members of the judiciary and officials.'

The organisation is seeking clarification from the Saudi Arabian government about the

newly established human rights structures, including their terms of reference and composition,

reiterating its request for a constructive dialogue on human rights issues.

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