Amid Saudi Arabia dispute, Canada says will always defend human rights

10 August, 2018, 13:30 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Amid Saudi Arabia dispute, Canada says will always defend human rights

The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's envoy from returning and placed a ban on new trade, after Canada urged it to release jailed rights activists.

The global feud began with the Canadian government's criticism of Saudi Arabia's arrests of women's rights activists.

The feud between Canada and Saudi Arabia has escalated quickly since it began on Friday, when Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised concerns about the Kingdom's human rights record.

It estimates that at least 15 Saudi activists have been arrested since May 15, though some estimate that the actual number of arrests, including unreported ones, may be higher.

Saudi Arabia responded by suspending flights between the two countries, moving thousands of Saudi students studying at Canadian schools and withdrawing the Saudi ambassador to Canada, Reuters reported.

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Amnesty International noted Ms Badawi has been repeatedly targeted and interrogated by Saudi security forces for her human rights activist.

"These countries are able to host the students, and we at the ministry are committed to facilitating the students' transfers so they can easily complete their education", he said. Raif Badawi, who won Europe's top human rights prize in 2015, was later sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam while blogging.

Canada said it was "seriously concerned" by the escalation but vowed to continue to "stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world".

A weekend story by KTW that said TRU could lose one-tenth of its worldwide students due to Saudi Arabia cutting off relationships with Canada and ordering its students to return home was wrong.

Describing both countries as "friends" and "partners" of the US, the State Department on Tuesday called on both countries to resolve the issue "diplomatically". Both the Saudi and Canadian ambassadors were away on leave when it was made.

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Canada's largest refinery in Saint John, N.B., owned by Irving Oil, relies on Saudi Arabia for almost 40 per cent of its crude supply, according 2018 statistics from the National Energy Board.

"Branding Saudi Arabia as an attractive destination for investment and trade is one of the underlying assumptions of Saudi Vision 2030", said Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor and Middle East expert at the University of Ottawa.

The State Department sought for a second day to avoid inflaming a spiraling diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Canada Tuesday, calling on both sides to sort out their differences over a delicate human rights dispute. "We can only stand with Saudi Arabia in defending its sovereignty and taking the necessary measures to protect its laws", Anwar Gargash, the minister of state for foreign affairs in the United Arab Emirates, tweeted Monday. Her brother's wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

While the United States is Canada's main supplier of crude oil by far, Saudi Arabia comes in second with a lot of its imports to Canada going to New Brunswick, which supplies other eastern provinces.

Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador, freezes trade in human rights row
Samar Badawi is the sister-in-law of Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen. The move follows vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of activists that have been detained.

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