CAIRO: The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has called on the Egyptian government to take action against the government of Saudi Arabia which it says “continues to exploit Egyptians”.
ANHRI said that even though the Saudi government still has internet and technology activist Youssef Ashmawy in custody, the Egyptian government released Saudi prisoners arrested for drug trafficking and other crimes.
There are many other Egyptians like Ashmawy detained in Saudi prisons without charge or trial, the group said.
“We were hoping that PM Essam Sharaf, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, or any of the ministers who had iftar with the Saudi ambassador recently, would draw attention to the fact that Egypt’s post-revolution government will not accept the ongoing violation of the rights and dignity of Egyptians in Saudi Arabia,” said ANHRI’s statement, “And it will not repeat the same mistakes of the old autocratic regime which violated the dignity of Egyptians inside Egypt and failed to protect it abroad … the slogan of the Egyptian revolution was human dignity,”
The human rights organization affirmed that it will be taking all the necessary legal measures and will spare no effort “to maintain the dignity of Youssef Ashmawy and other Egyptians exposed to the worst violations in Saudi Arabia,” pointing out that a victim will never run out of means to defend himself against injustice.
In 2003, Egypt became bound by an international treaty at the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers, which places a higher legal obligation on the government to protect the rights of Egyptian migrant workers.
The treaty, which was enforced in July 2003, is meant to prevent the exploitation of migrant workers and put an end to their trafficking and their illegal or clandestine recruitment. In addition, it provides a framework for their welfare and safeguards their rights.
On a local level, ANHRI has also condemned Saudi Arabia’s recent blocking of the Arabic website of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, which they explain is due to their reporting of information regarding the ill treatment of foreign labor as well as posting a video of a Saudi man beating an Asian worker last month.
ANHRI finds this a violation of the right of citizens to receive information, and also the website’s right of freedom of expression. They described it as a move “against the winds of change that have blown over the region as a direct consequence of the Arab Spring.”
“Not only has the Saudi government diplomatically or militarily participated in suppressing protests that took place in some Arab countries, as it did in the protests of Bahrain, but it also insists on maintaining its position as the most hostile country to the internet in the Arab region, and the fastest to block websites,” ANHRI said in a statement.
The network has also warned authorities against this ongoing repression of freedoms and against contravening regional and international conventions.