“Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.
Promises the Gulf Kingdom made to the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 were “nothing but hot air”, a report claims.
The authorities continue to crack down on activists through “arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture and other ill-treatment”, it adds.
In March, two founders of the prominent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Organisation (ACPRA), were sentenced to 10 and 11 years respectively.
The men, who used Twitter to promote human rights, were found guilty by a court of “breaking allegiance and disobeying the ruler”, “undermining unity”, “questioning the integrity of officials”, “seeking to disrupt security” and “inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations”.
Torture and other ill-treatment during detention is rife and carried out with impunity, the report says.
It documents other alleged violations, including “systemic discrimination of women in both law and practice” and “abuse of migrant workers”.
The report also accuses the Sunni-ruled kingdom of “discrimination against minority groups”, including Shia in Eastern Province, where many have been arrested for taking part in protests to demand greater rights and several have been killed.
Bandar bin Mohammed al-Aiban, who is the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, added: “Tangible progress has been achieved on a daily basis,”