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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 32  Al Jazeera  February 2, 2018 10:32am-11:01am +03

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vade in the u.a.e. banks a session is took control of the southern city on tuesday after several days of fighting the assault has opened up a new front in yemen's war and prevented much needed aid from reaching civilians thousands of people are rallying in pakistan to demand the arrest and execution of a police officer for killing a man in karate twenty seven year old. died in a shootout on wednesday the officer who led the operation has been relieved of his duties plans have been put in place for palestinian president mahmoud abbas to deliver a rare address at the united nations security council later this month usually nations are represented at the council by ambassadors not leaders israel says the move will put an end to any possibility of future peace talks it follows tension over the u.s. decision to recognize to reduce them as israel's capital more than one hundred fifty miners who were stuck underground in south africa have been rescued
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a power outage left them trapped at depths of up to one thousand meters for thirty hours it's inside story next stay with us here on out to zero. we understand the differences and the similarities of cultures across the world. so no matter where you call home al-jazeera international bringing the news and current trends that matter to you. out is iraq. imprisoned without charge in saudi arabia dozens of political and free speech activists are held provoking calls for the united nations to suspend the kingdom from the human rights council has only happened once before with libya will the u.n. acts again this is inside story. the at
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the at. the in. oh they're welcome to the program i'm laura carlisle two british lawyers have published a thirty one page report outlining how saudi arabia has breached international law the report accuses police of arresting dozens of political and free speech activists and holding them without charge now the united nations is being urged to suspend saudi arabia from the human rights council the kingdom seat on the council is due to expire next year but the saudi human rights record will be up for review in the next few months his son a gay guy with more. it's a case that has been given little attention given the recent state of affairs in saudi arabia thirty of its citizens detained without charge another thirty one who have apparently simply disappeared no one knows where they have gone or whether they're being held nor have they been charged with any offenses
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a violation of saudi and international rules say the british lawyers who authored the report into the arrests and are now calling for the un to suspend the government of saudi arabia from the human rights council if they are committed to human rights and the instruments that they signed up to as well as international law then there's no need for the suspension if they put that into practice but those who breach provisions of international codes should not be allowed to do that and still sit on a council that reviews human rights around the world the double standard should be stopped much may have been made of the recent changes in saudi arabia since the countries of the throne mohammed bin salman assumed a wider role women have won the right to drive the last country in the world who have lifted that ban and a high profile corruption crackdown against members of the elite two significant attention around the world human rights groups say while these actions are part of
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a determined effort to change saudi's troubled image the reality is far removed from that vision of change dissent is silenced calls for change our sense it and even messages on social media can invite imprisonment and punishment the fact that both people activists i mean jean according to our accounts and maybe more now that this new report has emerged our jail soley for the human rights activism and this is absolutely not acceptable and i mean that the efforts of the crown prince to brand himself as a reformer cannot fly in the face of such blatant human rights violations as a member of the un's human rights panel there is much pressure on saudi arabia to fulfill its duties in that capacity one way would be to get key allies such as the u.k. a major exporter of arms to the kingdom to convince them to fulfill the legal obligations . saudi's rulers are expected to visit britain soon but there are concerns as to
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how much of an effect prime minister theresa may would have on pause to respect the values they're meant to uphold as members of the human rights council saudi arabia may be sensitive about its image question is how much will it be prepared to prove that it's willing to accept change within the kingdom twenty valuable al-jazeera london. let's bring in our panel now and from london rami dixon a british lawyer and the author of that report from washington d.c. ali al is director of the institute for gulf affairs also a former saudi political prisoner and from beirut someone hadid human rights campaign at amnesty international very warm welcome to all of you well there let's first of all take a little bit of a closer look at the reports that you produced thirty people detained without charge since september that's a large number do we know what they were detained for no we
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don't that's the problem that we've highlighted in the report that lord mcdonald in my self have authored we don't know the reasons for their detention the government hasn't made those public they are no arrest warrants we are no proceedings before courts we can surmise the because of the activities that they have been involved in such as being critical of the government teaching against saudi policy that it's because of the dissent and views that have expressed raising question marks about saudi foreign policy that they have been part of this crackdown. ok even more chilling perhaps is the number of people who simply disappeared first the
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one according to this report again in the same time for instance september is that a common practice in saudi well you know we've documented over the years a series of enforced disappearances but also most recently as has been mentioned we've looked really closely into the wave of arrests all arrests and detention all of activists human rights defenders that were caught up in september of last year just as the crown prince was appointed in his new role and among those that have been arrested are leading human rights activists that are part of a local organization called the opera it's a saudi local ngo and others including journalists and bloggers and we also share
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this concern around this wave of arrests and and detentions. just a few days ago as well we saw that the first human rights defenders were sentenced under the new leadership of mohammed been salon. hamad a lot they be at the we were sentenced under the specialized criminal court in saudi arabia simply for setting up a human rights organization they were sentenced to up to fourteen years for the human rights activities and the un special rapporteur on on countering terrorism has shared this concern with amnesty around hold a court like this that normally is set up to to try cases of counter terrorism has been trying and targeting human rights defenders so for us the
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concern goes beyond just the arbitrary arrests and detentions it's also concerned around this expansion of counter-terrorism laws that have been used to target peaceful activists and human rights defenders ok kelley i want to bring you in here at this point and i should point out that you're not here in any way to defend saudi's human rights records unless you point out to view is that we did try all day to get that voice on but no avail. perhaps though you were able to give us some insight into why we're seeing this wave of arbitrary detentions and disappearances now. the saudi government has been or was. human rights violator since its inception. dating back to even before this there was in the kingdom so you dollars committed to massive human rights. abuses and crimes including basically almost genocidal campaigns against local populations. it's
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very important to realize that and i've been working on human rights since one thousand nine hundred six since i was in high school in that country and before that i was a political prisoner with my entire family and i still have a brother and nephew in prison who spent many years in prison so i am very familiar with the record i think we need to really focus on the and the system the fact that the saudi court system there is no justice system it's a court system that's not dependent it's not modern you're talking about a government that is implementing apartheid policies against women against and against blacks racist policy against blacks and against other people and of course a lot of abuses and restrictions on religious freedom of all including the majority sunni population so it's not about cases in terms of part you know thirty people
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that has to disappear before them thousands have been out of state including a doctor and that danny and dr mohammed who are the founders of a bar for example in terms of creating a death squad that has been murdering the protesters in the eastern province including three children and that hasn't. been talked about into including rape yes now we found out there's a case of raping four asian workers experience in our mia by saudi special forces who have destroyed completely and used military grade explosives and weapons to. raise an entire quarter of a city so heading in the hands of the let you know how the right record ok and so in terms of that it's going it has received a copy of this report by the two precious lawyers is it going to pay any heed to it was the response likely to be i don't think it was must realize and i have
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a person who i think i'm the first saudi national who went to the to the council two thousand and one in terms of activist. this is a member state organization like any other united nation organization and it does not have any real power it can make suggestions it could make some statements but that's the only thing that they can do they don't have any real power so and there is no mccann ism for them to expel anybody i know libya was suspended because the member states the united states and the u.k. lead that effort here we don't have that so it's really i you know i think this is a good effort but i don't think it's going to bear fruit because because. the united states in the u.k. and other european countries will stop in the way just like they did in terms of establishing a united nation investigative team to look into crimes in yemen and they did
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a little and i think the same result will be here robbie do you share that pessimism. well we are in the report trying to highlight what happened in september and place that in the context of all of the previous arrests and the pattern of abuse that that has been referred to the focus is on september but we're trying to show the wider picture in order to as lawyers assess the gravity and emphasize to states that it is certainly got to the point if it hadn't done so before of reaching a systemic level which now requires member states of the general assembly to act of course it is up to them whether they going to do that but we hope in providing this information it will give the impetus and it will show that in order to implement international law yes the council can only make recommendations
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there's no court but international law is enforced through interstate relations through their collective actions and this is an opportunity to show that in practice no it can be done behind the scenes it can be done publicly but we're saying it can't go on any longer otherwise it tarnishes that the u.n. and the whole international community to have a human rights council where you have a member like saudi arabia who's previously in fact been in the chair. showing complete flow going to regard for the very human rights that the council is there to uphold so there is a chance no we many chances missed but we gotta try and seize this opportunity just because things haven't been done before doesn't mean we shouldn't push for the mill and keep doing that keep trying because it could achieve results ok what is one to pick up on one point because i believe that the un human rights council did we
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spoke to them as well they were able to come on the show they did make the point that saudi hasn't actually ever been in the chair of the council itself they were quite keen to press that point so let's just take a look at what the un human rights council actually is at this point and it's a governing body looking to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights around the world and the council has forty seven seats filled by member states elected for three year terms the irony well ten members of the current council are accused of violating human rights they are burundi egypt rwanda cuba venezuela china india saudi arabia the united arab emirates and the philippines the alleged violations include actually judicial killings torture sexual assault arbitrated tension and targeted travel bans i mean so when you look at that list you can see that saudi is by no means alone here why does so many countries with questionable
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human rights records sit on this u.n. council unfortunately i think mechanisms like the human rights council and you know where it governments are members of this council you know we see that human rights have taken. a back seat and there's a tradeoff between political interests and human rights and i think it's a moment for the u.n. to really look at how to better reform a mechanism like this but also. well to engage in other opportunities to put pressure on countries and sticking to the subject of saudi arabia there is an opportunity coming up at the human rights council where saudi arabia as a country is up for universal periodic review and this is where other countries can hold a country like saudi arabia to count on its human rights abuses and violations and
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so we would urge these states to really take this opportunity as a meaningful opportunity to hold saudi arabia to account and really monitor and assess its human rights records ok i think going beyond just has a subtler moments and i just want to get his response to that because i can see shaking his head is that the human rights council do you think this will be an opportunity that countries seize. this is not the first to p.r. for saudi arabia and the previous u.p.i. this is very typical you know it's a lake a debating society we urge this saudi arabia we we admire you know people it will be political in the united sates will praise the saudi move and then we'll throw in soft words about encouraging and you know continue on and so on and the reality the council does not really play a role in terms of actually doing something like i said i spoke myself in two
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thousand and one april to then the commissioner mr robinson medal robinson who became the president of of ireland and she was defending the saudi government record and woman so really these people who are working their staff they have no power it is the power of the state if the united states and other countries decided that saudi arabia is the bad actor then they can take that to the u.n. security council the crimes that are committed by not only by these ten every member state every government has human rights abuses but of course if you compare the saudis to say there is a huge difference the problem is this council is really irrelevant the terms of actually doing something for human rights and saudi arabia and bahrain and u.a.e. and other governments who are abusing human rights are not going to change their behavior because of this council it hasn't happened ten happen to any government so on it's really to me for me for me my point is that it's
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a waste of time ok rodney if we look at the states' role in all this we can look to the u.k. company because mama been salmen the government is expected that very soon a visit to reason by the prime minister can we expect this issue to be raised i presume that you're pushing for it to do so. yes we we sending a copy of our reports to the u.k. government and to other key governments who have been mentioned in the interviews already and of obviously to the the un human rights council itself i just wish to to clarify that that we have said in our report that saudi arabia were the chair of a key panel overseeing human rights a very prominent position from two thousand and fifteen. but we've sent it to all those bodies because of these meetings that are coming up because there is interaction at the highest level at the state level and at that level yes
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relationships are being talked about economic deals are being talked about but we're what we are saying in the report is that the state of a sufficient should also be on the agenda that it can't be pushed aside even though the saudi government is trying to do that other government shouldn't allow that to happen i'm not saying that this shouldn't be any meetings at all religion should be broken no require the country that the good influence of those countries should be used in order to get saudi arabia to comply and if there is a genuine this in this new era of reform that it must be implemented it could conscious be rhetorical is what we are highlighting in our report as some up and some would say though that in all these situations in all these states a state meetings new words have a situation where oil would trump their human rights any day is that what amnesty sees this position is bank. well not just oil but arms sales as well and
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i think there's an opportunity for countries like the u.k. and the u.s. to really use its pressure and its bilateral relationship with saudi arabia to put pressure on the government there to improve its human rights record in the kingdom but also to review its role in yemen so we're not just talking about human rights abuses in saudi arabia but also the saudi led coalition's of human rights abuses in yemen and here you have governments like the u.k. and u.s. who can suspend their arms sales to the saudi led coalition because these arms have been used to commit crimes in yemen so i feel like there are opportunities for change it's really up to these strategic countries to apply their pressure when the crown prince rose up rose to power had been solomon with his reform agenda
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did you have any optimism if you hold the optimism things would change that your family members would be released from jail. i don't think so you know this is an issue of a system that you have an absolute monarchy that is. you know running a system that is ingrained itself in legitimacy it's it does not derive originates in from the people from the religion it's just by sheer power and order to maintain that system that outdated system it has to abuse people and it has to use basically terrorizing the population of all types of the population and that's what they're going to change we know in the west the united states and the u.k. governments all was praising saudi leaders as reformers and that's the typical because that's their interest in maintaining these people in power and they are in fact. the person who's been doing this for
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a long time is it is the support of the united states government and the u.k. government to the saudi government that is the main source of human rights abuses because if they didn't have they were not assured of support they could not do what they do in terms of abusing their people you know across across the board so it's really there is a relationship between the support that the saudi government receives from the west and not only in terms of arms but political and economic and intelligence support. their views of their population and that's the unfortunate reality. the saudi government cannot change it's not going to share power with his people unless the united states and the u.k. specifically these two governments change its position in terms of supporting what we have an ending a situation where we are now well you know when the u.s. is a huge supporter of the saudi government do you see the situation then getting worse . i believe so in that in two thousand and eight i confronted then the
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director of the assistant director of the f.b.i. philip mudd and he told me in a conference that yes we support the saudi government against human rights activists this is the f.b.i. cia guy who is cia and the f.b.i. he admitted this to me that they don't support them against on c. so called militant but also against human rights advocates and democracy advocates because that's the perfect system for the united states government to have a government based on one family that controls everything ok just lost the right day that the families of the detained and the missing who commission the reports that that you did are they expecting to get any answers should they expect to get any answers well that is what they hoping for that's why certain of the families who want to remain anonymous wanted to get this information out there and as lawyers what we wanted to do was to get the evidence the hard facts speak
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because then you're not just talking about speculation or rumor if that can be shown to exist to to be proved then governments have to take it seriously that they can't ignore it and through this process the families friends relatives others or hoping that their plights together was obviously many others will be raised based on real evidence and to challenge those in authority to take that seriously as they do in any other case in the near the criminal case it can't be brushed aside there has to be a proper investigation and a determination to end these crimes ok very interesting indeed to speak to all of you thank you for joining us here on inside story of an index and some are headed and i'll lead. thank you too very much for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website dot com of other discussion due to
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a good education system that was introduced to. latin america as europe has come to fill a void that needed to be filled. it was oil upon which modern day venezuela was a stop that. for over a century this lucrative resorts has divided the people of less than coasts with the world's largest reserves. charting the impact of industrialization and the legacies of its prominent leaders we shed light on the troubles afflicting venezuela today the big picture the battle for venezuela at this time on al jazeera news has neither the new and the liberal but the message is a simplistic and misinformation is rife the listening post provides a critical counterpoint challenging mainstream media narrative at this time on al-jazeera.
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