Saudi Arabia

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 28th January 2015.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote fundamental freedoms in Saudi Arabia and to dissuade the government of that country from misusing anti-terrorism laws.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The British Government’s position on human rights in Saudi Arabia is a matter of public record. We regularly make our views known including through the UN Universal Periodic Review process and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. We also raise our human rights concerns with the Saudi Arabian authorities at the highest level.

We have been following the new counter-terrorism and terrorism financing legislation closely since its inception and have noted that a number of human rights activists have been sentenced in the Specialised Criminal Court, which is a court designed for security and terrorism cases. We have not yet seen evidence that it is being used routinely to target individuals engaging in civil and political debate. We continue to monitor the situation.

Saudi Arabia is a key partner in our global counter terrorism efforts, particularly within the region. Saudi Arabia has many years of experience in countering radicalisation and extremism. Continued close co-operation between the UK and Saudi Arabia will remain part of work to protect both UK and Saudi Arabian interests from the threat of terrorism.

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