Human Rights Watch

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Saudi Arabia: ‘Image Laundering’ Conceals Abuses

New Human Rights Watch Campaign Against Whitewashing Rights Violations

Friday 02 October 2020


(Beirut, October 2, 2020) – The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 2, 2020, Human Rights Watch launched a global campaign to counter Saudi government efforts to whitewash its dismal rights record. The two years since the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October 2018 has brought no accountability for top-level officials implicated in the murder. Since then, the government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has aggressively organized and bankrolled high-profile events featuring major international artists, celebrities, and sports figures, with plans for many more. Saudi Arabia also currently holds the presidency of the G20, a forum for international economic cooperation, and will host the G20 leaders’ summit in late November.

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