As Amnesty International closes its ‘#LetThemFly’ petition, which has seen nearly 100,000 people around the world call on the Saudi authorities to lift all travel bans imposed on human rights defenders and activists for peacefully exercising their right Freedom of Expression, Diana Semaan, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said:
“Saudi authorities have imposed arbitrary travel bans as part of prison sentences on those who dare to express any form of peaceful dissent, criticism of the government or support for human rights. These illegal travel bans severely compromise activists’ access to health care and professional or educational opportunities abroad and wreak havoc on their mental health, with many being forcibly separated from their families for years. .
“Yet a chorus of critics gathering around 100,000 voices from around the world is calling on the Saudi authorities to ‘let them fly. Saudi Arabia must live up to its public relations campaigns illustrating a rights-respecting society, rather than obscuring the lives of activists at home and abroad.
… a chorus of critics gathering around 100,000 voices from around the world calls on the Saudi authorities to “Let Them Fly”.
Diana Semaan, Amnesty International
“The Saudi authorities must end their ruthless crackdown on human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and movement. Until then, we will continue to staunchly defend the rights of all residents and people, and expose any violations in the Kingdom. »
Amnesty International launched its ‘#Let Them Fly’ petition in May 2022. Since then, Amnesty International has mobilized activists around the world to take action. Nearly 100,000 voices from around the world have called on Saudi authorities to end travel bans against activists and human rights defenders.
Travel bans are official orders that prevent a particular citizen or group of citizens from entering or leaving the country. They should only be used when necessary and they should be compatible with all other human rights. Unofficial prohibitions also fail to satisfy the requirement that they be prescribed by law.
Amnesty International has documented the cases of 40 human rights defenders and peace activists who were sentenced after grossly unfair trials to travel bans ranging from five to 35 years, as well as 39 unofficial travel bans which affected relatives of activists. These militants include Loujain al-Hathloul and Raif Badawi.