In a country that is generally in the limelight for their drastic views of women’s rights, Saudi Arabia is once again making headlines for arrests of Canadian women that have sparked a large diplomatic debate. Women in Saudi Arabia who are human rights activists are currently facing arrests. The European Union has taken it upon themselves to get some answers and more information about the case.
They believe that the detainees have the right to be granted the due process to defend themselves adequately. There are numerous women that this has happened to. Some of them have been seen campaigning for women’s right to drive and to put an end to the lands male guardianship system that has been in place for many years.
The arrest and detention of these women initially sparked outrage in Canada, after they demanded the defendants immediate release. This has since broken out into a large diplomatic row between the two. Due to the high profile of the incident, the European Commission and many EU executives have been in contact with Saudi Arabia to press for further details and to open up a conversation.
EU spokeswoman, Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief stated “The EU has been engaging constructively with the Saudi authorities are seeking clarification on the circumstances surrounding the arrests of women that human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, notably with regard to the specific accusations brought against them, we have been emphasising the relevance of the role of human rights defenders and civil society groups in the process of reform which the Kingdom is pursuing as well as the importance of respecting the rules of due process for all those arrested”.
Mogherini has since been in contact with the Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland through phone calls and email communications to discuss both sides attempting to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia, and try to move things forward faster, for the sake of the detained women. Both parties agreed that intensifying their talks with Saudi Arabian leaders would be the most beneficial step moving forward.
Whilst the fate of these women is not yet secured, it is clear that Saudi Arabia do not seem to want to step down from their current position easily. Talks could go on for days, weeks or months. However, it is a story that the nation will be following as the European Union join Canada as a united front to return the women safely home.
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