Football Today: Get out on Friday for human rights and #SaveHakeem

January 30,2019

Australian football fans are being urged to show their support for the unlawfully detained Australian refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi this Friday, the day of the Asian Cup Final in the UAE.

It is one more step in the campaign to #SaveHakeem, coordinated by the Gulf Institute of Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR).

Football fans and anyone supporting human rights are asked to go to an iconic location where they live and help support freedom for prisoners of conscience around the world, like Al-Araibi.

Specific protests have been organised for:

  • SYDNEY: in front of the Sydney Opera House at 10.30am
  • MELBOURNE: in Federation Square at 10.30am.

Fatima Yazbek, the Head of the GIDHR Committee on Reports and Studies, wants people to post a photo of themselves on social media with a sign showing the hashtag #HumanRightsCup and #SaveHakeem.

“We are organising specific events in Sydney and Melbourne, but we would also ask people everywhere to do the same thing, regardless of where they live,” said Ms Yazbek.

“We want to be able to show that support for Hakeem and other prisoners of conscience is widespread and global.”

The planned peaceful demonstration comes on top of news that Bahrain has now lodged their extradition request with Thailand, a situation described as “an emergency” by Brendan Schwab for World Players United, and Craig Foster, who met with FIFA earlier this week. 

Schwab told ABC Radio that there is only one outcome that is consistent with Thailand's international human rights obligations, and that is to return Al-Araibi to Australia immediately. 

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has also now written to his Thai counterpart seeking his intervention in the case and emphasising that Al-Araibi's home is in Australia.

Al-Araibi's wife is also asking the governments of Canada and New Zealand to assist the cause by putting pressure on Thailand.