HRW: Saudi Leadership Change Should Prioritize Improving Rights

Newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should use his authority to end longstanding abuses against Saudi dissidents and rights activists and to make a public commitment for rights reforms, Human Rights Watch said in a report it released on Thursday, May 22, 2017.
“Saudi Arabia should go beyond portfolio shuffling and ensure that leadership changes bring meaningful steps to end the repression so many Saudi men and women have suffered over the years,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “If the new crown prince wants to achieve his vision for economic progress, he should take immediate and concrete steps to improve human rights protections.”
In his new role as crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman should ensure that Saudi forces in Yemen comply with the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said. “Saudi Arabia’s reshuffled prosecution service should immediately end prosecutions of human rights activists such as Koshak and al-Oteibi, and release those serving long jail terms,” the international watchdog added.
“Saudi leaders should realize that they can’t transform the country’s economy and society without granting women rights on par with men and allowing Saudis to openly criticize government policies and call for human rights,” Whitson said.