Loujain al-Hathloul had pleaded guilty to fighting for the right of women in Saudi Arabia to drive a car and not to have a male guardian. She was sentenced to six years in prison but was released yesterday after serving almost three years. However, she is not free but is on probation and under government supervision.
Iceland was a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2019 and campaigned for its release and that of others detained in Saudi Arabia for the fight for human rights. . Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, says that this has not been done before and that the Icelandic government has been praised and felt that the work of the Human Rights Council has affected, for those who need it, people who are violated. Lina, Loujain’s sister, has traveled the world to draw attention to the state of affairs in her home country and she came to this country 2019. Guðlaugur þór says that it has been a great experience to listen to Lina, who feels directly about Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations.
Focus on Saudi Arabia and the Philippines It was decided that Iceland would work to direct the spotlight on countries that have seats in the Council but respect not human rights, such as Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.
But how did other countries get involved? “We can put it this way, there is a reason why this was not done before, but when we left we found a great deal of solidarity. “Sometimes it is the case that someone needs to take the first step,” he says.
Denmark has continued on this path in the Human Rights Council, says the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Nordic countries work closely together there, as elsewhere.
Possibly Biden’s tone has had an effect Foreign media report that the timing of the solution is al -Hathloul is not a coincidence. Joe Biden has just taken over as President of the United States and has immediately pushed for the release of human rights activists. The Saudi authorities want to ensure good relations with the new US government.
Guðlaugur Þór says he hopes that pressure from the US government has had an effect in Saudi Arabia. He had a meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister in February 2020 where these issues were discussed. “It is so that these nations find it very uncomfortable that they are treated in this way and that is good,” says Guðlaugur Þór. “I believe that the tone that the new US administration is setting in this, it will also have an effect, so it may well be more than that it is related to their decision now.”