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Human Rights Violations: The Fake Face of Saudi Reforms

30 October 2019
11.00am – 1.00pm AEDT
Law Theatre G23, The Law Building
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This seminar will highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and the reality behind the reforms of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The leader known as MBS has ended the world’s only ban on women drivers, reopened cinemas and allowed men and women to attend concerts. At the same time, writers and women activists are imprisoned, and the Saudi-led coalition is accused of numerous war crimes in Yemen.

Is the Crown Prince defending women's rights in the Kingdom? Or is he trying to whitewash his image in front of the international community through these so-called reformations?

In addition, our panellists will provide us with a closer look at the role of Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, and the Bahraini crackdown where mass imprisonment and torture have been used to silence opposition voices.

Each of the panellists will address their topic in 15 mins, followed by Q&A.

Fatima Yazbek, the head of the committee on studies and reports of the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, will give an overall view of the rights situation in Saudi Arabia.

Julian McMahon AC SC, a barrister working on criminal law. Julian is the President of Capital Punishment Justice Project, an organisation working to have the death penalty abolished worldwide; and was 2016 Victorian Australian of the Year. Julian will speak about the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, where it’s reported 134 executions have been carried out this year.

The MC for the seminar will be Rawan Arraf, an Australian-based lawyer working to develop Australia's domestic prosecutions of international crimes and serious human rights violations. She is director and founder of the Australian Centre for International Justice.

Ms Saffaa, is an artist, activist, and a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. She was reported to the Saudi authorities when her artwork I Am My Own Guardian went viral in 2016 and has since become a political dissident. She has been exhibiting and creating murals locally and internationally and her work was recently on display at the US Congress. She is shortlisted for the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression award.

This event is co-hosted by the Australian Human Rights Institute and the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.