Missiles, choppers and women’s rights

Earlier today I wrote about an agreement signed by President Obama to sell $60 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. I wondered about the moral justification to arm a nation with such an appalling record in women’s rights (amongst others). So now, via Human Rights Watch, I just came across this:

Saudi Arabia: Where Fathers Rule and Courts Oblige

“Saudi judges have elevated a father’s authority to a pillar of law,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The result of unquestioned fatherly authority far too often has been family strife and unwarranted suffering for the adult children.”[…]

The experience of Samar Bawadi, 29, is a case in point, Human Rights Watch said. In July 2010, Jeddah’s General Court ruled in her favor after she sued her father for refusing to let her marry, known as an adhl suit. Badawi is in prison pending trial, however, because her father had sued her for “disobedience” after she fled his home for a shelter.[…]

In another case,  Lulwa Abd al-Rahman, who is more than 30-years-old, remains in the Protection Home in Jeddah for a third year, her fiancé told Human Rights Watch. She had fled her abusive father, who  refused to allow them to marry four years ago because of the fiancé’s  allegedly inferior tribe.

When she insisted on marrying despite her father’s objection, he placed her in a mental hospital. After doctors there found no mental illnesses warranting detention or treatment, her father locked her in their house in Ahsa’ province, Abd al-Rahman told Al-Hayat newspaper in March. She escaped on a visit to Makka’s Grand Mosque and went to the Protection Home, she said.[…]

And these are just a couple of cases in the report (the link above is well worth a read). I don’t really have much to add, except that the correlation between a 60 billion Dollars arms deal and human rights is too much to contemplate right now.

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