Saudi Arabia Human Rights
I'm a serial entrepreneur and the founder of a global digital education content company, specializing in cross-cultural issues. I also happen to be a minority female from a traditional culture. I mention that fact last because it's the least relevant reason as to how and why I became an entrepreneur and how I run my business.
Five years ago, on 17th June 2012 Raif Badawi was arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities, for allegedly "insulting Islam through electronic channels". Raif had taken to his keyboard and set up a liberal website. An action which would have gone completely unremarked in this country and many others.
Perhaps the next round of protests would be seen as meaningful when those participating would have pledged to themselves, not never allow any form of discrimination and abuse to go unchallenged, within their own communities or elsewhere, both domestic and foreign, coming from the White House or the House of Saud.
Whatever happens next month it won't be the end of the debate. As long as terrible crimes are being committed with UK weapons and with our government's support, this campaign will continue. It's not just the arms sales that need to end, it is also the hypocrisy and the mindset that has allowed them to happen in the first place.
For decades now, UK governments of all political colours have worked hand in glove with the arms companies and Saudi authorities, continuing to sell arms and political support while turning a blind eye to the terrible human rights abuses that are being carried out every single day.
It's been over a year since the start of the recent conflict in Yemen, and life for children and their families is increasingly unbearable. In March last year, the Saudi-led Coalition launched a military operation in support of the Government of Yemen against Houthi opposition forces who had overthrown President Hadi. Since then, the humanitarian situation has rapidly deteriorated with over 80% of the country now in need of assistance and millions without access to vital healthcare, food, water and fuel.
World attention on the conflict in the Middle East is primarily focused on Syria and Iraq, and much less so on the catastrophe in Yemen, which has cost the lives of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes. The Saudi monarchy, with Britain's open support, has been waging war on Yemen for a year, and yet few Britons know anything about it.
Fundamental questions need to be asked about the UK Government's relationship with Saudi Arabia and calling the execution of 47 prisoners, some who were political prisoners only 'disappointing' is an embarrassing stance from the Government, a Government that is far too close to a regime with serious human rights abuses.
Philip Hammond wants more UK trade with Saudi Arabia, despite calling for a “proper investigation” into claims of breaches
At least 151 people have been put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year, making it the highest rate in two decades, a