How Bad Are Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Violations?

In September 2015, Saudi Arabia was appointed to oversee a UN Human Rights Council panel for the second time This appointment has been widely met with confusion, as Saudi Arabia has a long history of human rights abuses

The most recent of which involves sentencing a man to be crucified for protesting the Saudi government as a teenager So we wanted to know, what are Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations? Well, Saudi Arabia is an Islamic, absolute monarchy, operating under Sharia law Unfortunately, many aspects of the religious law run contrary to modern interpretations of human rights For many years, Saudi Arabia has been ranked among the worst of the worst by Freedom House for political and civil rights This is alongside countries like North Korea and Syria

First and foremost, there is extreme repression of speech and religion In 2011, 35 Christians praying in a private home were arrested and severely beaten by Saudi police Criticizing the Saudi regime has also been actively prohibited, with multiple bloggers being arrested In 2014, one blogger was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, ten years in jail, and a quarter of a million dollar fine for running a website about religious discussion Saudi Arabia is also one of the only countries to perform public executions, and is one of the last to still dole out physical punishments for legal transgressions

Women who have been raped are sentenced as adulterers and whipped, which Saudi Arabia defends as a “legal tradition” Saudi Arabia is also the source of considerable human trafficking, with huge numbers of people from Asia and Africa held involuntarily as servants or laborers Many women are kidnapped and sent into Saudi Arabia as prostitutes, including children who are forced into sexual slavery Additionally, the country actively discriminates against gay, lesbian, and transgender people, by imposing punishments ranging from fines, to flogging, to the death penalty Saudi Arabia is one of the largest human rights violators while still enjoying the privileges of being allied with the United States

Despite being condemned by many worldwide organizations and governments, Saudi Arabia has responded to criticism as being unreasonable In 2000, the former ruler of Saudi Arabia told the United Nations, "It is absurd to impose on an individual or a society rights that are alien to its beliefs or principles" The country has made no clear effort to curb its many human rights violations, and in some regards has even increased the number of transgressions It is questionable whether political loyalty in the Middle East is worth ignoring an ongoing civil and political rights crisis On the topic of human rights, Saudi Arabia holds one of the highest execution rates in the world

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