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Beyond the Rhetoric of Reform: Saudi Arabia and the UK

Join us as we look beyond the rhetoric of reform and investigate the UK’s complicity in Human Rights abuses in Saudi Arabia

About this event

Saudi authorities hope the G20 Summit this November will be an opportunity to promote themselves as agents of modernisation and reform, and shore up international support for their rule.

Yet, as they talk of “Empowering People” and creating “the conditions in which all people can live, work and thrive”, these conditions are denied to their own people, and those who demand them face persecution, torture and imprisonment. In Yemen, bombing by the Saudi-led coalition has killed thousands and unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe.

Join us as we look beyond the rhetoric of reform and investigate the UK’s complicity in these abuses.

We’ll be shining a spotlight on human rights challenges in Saudi Arabia and the UK’s complicity in these abuses; Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen war and the scandal of continuing UK arms sales; and celebrating the activists speaking out for change.


• Osamah Al-Fakih, Media, Communications and Advocacy Manager with Mwatana for Human rights

Osamah Alfakih is the director of media, communications and advocacy at the Yemeni NGO, Mwatana for Human Rights, and the former director of the research unit in the same organization. Mwatana was recently awarded the Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award by Human Rights First.

• Safa Al-Ahmad, Journalist and filmmaker, Acting Director of ALQST

Safa Al-Ahmad is a Saudi Arabian journalist and filmmaker. She has directed documentaries for PBS and the BBC focusing on uprisings in the Middle East.

Her 2014 documentary, “Saudi’s Secret Uprising”, about a largely unreported mass uprising in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province (produced for the BBC) was instrumental in bringing international attention to the large-scale violence meted out to peaceful demonstrators. On November 19, 2019, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal at the University of Michigan.

• David Wearing, academic, writer, and expert on the UK’s relationship with Gulf states

Dr. David Wearing is a lecturer in international relations at the University of Southampton, and a specialist in UK relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab monarchies. He is the author of ‘AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters To Britain’, an overview of the United Kingdom’s political and economic relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council states, and in particular Saudi Arabia.

The discussion will be chaired by Sarah Waldron, Public Campaigns Co-ordinator at CAAT.

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