The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi must change the world’s perception of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the way the Kingdom is treated globally, Amani al-Ahmadi, Euro-Med Monitor’s adviser on Saudi Arabia, said in an open letter coinciding with the end of the Universal Periodic Review of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record at the United Nations on Friday.
The killing of Khashoggi in such a horrible manner inside his country’s embassy for merely exercising his right to freedom of expression, and despite the special protection granted to journalists under international law, means that “if someone’s rights are threatened, all our rights are threatened,” added al-Ahmadi, stressing the urgent need for necessary steps countering the Kingdom’s shocking human rights record.
“The death of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi was the biggest humanitarian wakeup call, especially because he shed continuous light on important issues such as the continuous crack down on activists, journalists, and religious figures in Saudi Arabia,” al-Ahmadi further added.
This incident should be a motive for exposing many other abuses, such as “the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the male guardianship system, the arbitrary detentions and the unlawful death penalty against Salman al-Odah and Israa Ghumam,” Euro-Med’s adviser further stated, expressing regret over the failure of the international community to take serious action to improve the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia despite the full knowledge of the growing series of inhumane living conditions in the country.”
It is high time that the world's free media, journalists, activists, decision-makers and individuals take action to change this reality and put an end to these ‘systematic and autocratic’ practices once and for all, al-Ahmadi said, stressing the need for “demand[ing] change for the Saudi people.”
Al-Ahmadi concluded her message by stating that: “Free speech is not free, it shouldn’t cost you a life in prison. Women shouldn’t be held captive or enslaved by their male guardians. A peaceful protest shouldn’t cost you your life; if someone's voice is silenced, it is our duty to be their voice.”