The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Amnesty International in Switzerland offered an excellent opportunity to launch the Saudi Arabia photo petition on 26 June 2009.
The sustained assault on human rights in the name of security and fighting terrorism undertaken by the Saudi Arabian authorities is shocking, especially in view of this country’s significant power and influence on the political and economic world stage, playing a leading role in the Arab and Islamic worlds. We want to lift the veil and expose the human rights abuses.
We asked the question “Saudi Arabia: what are you hiding?” – pointing to what is going on behind closed doors: arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials, flogging and death sentences. We demand strict adherence to international human rights obligations from the government of Saudi Arabia.
The selection was quickly made – there were four different slogans to choose from. They were used as placards for the photo shoot, situated in the hallway leading to the plenary room. Every person supporting the Saudi Arabia photo petition stood against the black curtain on the wall and held up the chosen slogan.
In the months ahead, our groups and members will take up this action. We need to collect many more photo portraits and generate creative activism and strong media attention to puncture the secrecy that surrounds Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism policies and practices.
Who is joining us?
By Lukas Labhart, Amnesty International in Switzerland