An Amnesty International submission, prior to a UN meeting in Geneva today to scrutinize the country's human rights record, details an ongoing crackdown, including arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture and other ill-treatment of citizens over the past four years.
"Saudi Arabia's previous promises to the UN have been proven to be nothing but hot air. They rely on its political and economic clout to deter the international community from criticizing its dire human rights record, " said Philip Luther, Director of Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Last Friday (Oct 18), Saudi Arabia rejected a seat on the UN Security Council, accusing the body of failing in its duties in Syria and other conflicts.
"It`s highly ironic for Saudi Arabia to point out the Security Council`s double standards, given the complete failure to address its own appalling human rights record," said Luther.
According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabian authorities have failed to implement any of the main recommendations from the last review by the UN Human Rights Council, known as the Universal Periodic Review, which took place in 2009.
"Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression," said Philip Luther.
"For all the peaceful activists that have been arbitrarily detained, tortured or imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since, the international community has a duty to hold the authorities to account," he added
Amnesty officials claim that the new wave of repression against civil society, which has taken place over the last two years, is documented in Amnesty International's report to the UN to be used as part of the review.
Amnesty International said the Saudi Arabian government has repressed human rights activists and supporters of political reform in the country through arbitrary arrests, detention without charge or trial, unfair trials and travel bans.
Those imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or association include the founders of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Organization (ACPRA). Founded in 2009, it became one of the most prominent independent human rights organizations in the country.
Amnesty also highlighted other human rights violations committed by Saudi Arabian authorities, such as the systemic discrimination against women in both law and practice, as women are required to obtain the permission of a male guardian before being married, travelling, undergoing certain surgical procedures, undertaking paid employment or enrolling in higher education.
Amnesty also reported on issues of abuse towards migrant workers at the hands of private and government employers. Indonesia is among those countries allowing its citizens to work in Saudi Arabia. Currently, there are about two million Indonesian workers employed there.
Other issues mentioned by Amnesty international in its report include discrimination against minority groups in Saudi Arabia, as Shi'a Muslims in the Eastern Province have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention on charges such as suspicion of taking part or supporting demonstrations or expressing views critical of the state.