Alexander De Croo discusses the situation of detained women rights activist in Saudi Arabia

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo met with , the sister of the Saudi human rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. She was detained in May 2018 because of her activism for women rights in Saudi Arabia. It is thanks to women such as Loujain that women are entitled to drive today in Saudi Arabia. She pays however a hefty price for her activism and risks a prison sentence.

Belgium reiterates its concerns about the situation of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia. Minister De Croo and the Belgian government are particularly concerned about the use of the counter-terrorism law and other national security provisions against individuals exercising peacefully their rights and freedoms. Human rights defenders and civil society groups play a vital role in every sustainable and stable society.

Belgium recalls its recommendation made during the Universal Periodic Review of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which it accepted, to “release anyone imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, including human rights defenders and journalists.”