Saudi Arabia: women right-to-drive activists reportedly detained

Collage of photos of Amnesty activists overlaid on an image of a Saudi Arabian woman taking the wheel in support of the Women2Drive initiative © Amnesty International

Reports suggest those arrested have campaigned for right to drive

‘This is an extremely worrying development for women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia’ - Samah Hadid

Responding to reports that several prominent women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia have been detained this week, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said: 

“This is an extremely worrying development for women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. 

“The Saudi Arabian authorities’ endless harassment of women’s rights defenders is entirely unjustifiable.

“Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has presented himself as a ‘reformer’, but his promises of reform seem entirely superficial as the repression of human rights activists continues unabated.

“Saudi Arabia cannot continue to publicly proclaim support for women’s rights and other reforms, while targeting women human rights defenders and activists for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

“We are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all activists who may still be detained solely for their human rights work.”

News reports have suggested that those detained have been connected with the campaign to lift the ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia. The ban is set to be lifted next month, with licences being issued from 24 June. Amnesty is in the process of confirming the identities of the individuals detained.

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