Amnesty Slams Saudi Crown Prince's Hollow Reforms With Spoof Ad

The international human rights organization lambasted the Saudi crown prince's reforms that are part of a broader plan to wean the country off of oil money.


Saudi Arabia has undergone several historic changes over the past two years under the de facto leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

For the first time in the ultraconservative kingdom's history, Saudi women have been allowed to vote and drive. After decades, cinemas have been reopened and people are attending concerts.

While the Saudi population, especially women, are benefitting a lot from the new, and long overdue, social reforms, it's all part of a broader plan, spearheaded by bin Salman, to wean the country off of oil money and attract foreign investment.

However, several other core human rights issues, such as lack of freedom of speech and the Yemen invasion, remain unaddressed, as Amnesty International pointed out in a new ad campaign.

In light of bin Salman's tour to the United States, the international human rights group released a mock-ad, lambasting bin Salman's social reforms as "distraction" tactics.

"The best PR machine in the world cannot gloss over Saudi Arabia's dismal human rights record," said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle East. "The Crown Prince has been cast as a reformer but the crackdown against dissenting voices in his country has only intensified since his appointment last June."

"If this is how your country delivers justice, you need a really, really good PR agency," was the caption alongside a photo showing a man facing execution by the sword in Saudi Arabia.

Just this year, at least 48 people have been executed, nearly half of them involving non-violent drug crimes. In fact, the Gulf kingdom has carried out nearly 600 executions since the beginning of 2014, over 200 of them in cases involving narcotics.

Meanwhile, mass murder of civilians in Yemen continues amidst the invasion bin Salman launched as  defense minister in March 2015 in Yemen. The conflict has led to devastation and massive loss of civilian life. The brutal military campaign has killed 10,000 people, as of December 2017, and over 8 million people — one-third of the Yemeni population — are teetering on the brink of famine.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters

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