The Washington Post tackled on Wednesday the diplomatic row between Canada and Saudi resulting from the former’s complaint about the latter’s decision to arrest two prominent female activists, Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah, citing the statement made by KSA foreign ministry which described that the Canadian move as a “blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs” and an “unacceptable affront to the Kingdom’s laws and judicial process.”
The US paper noted that Saudi wants the whole world to view its practices in a different way, adding that the Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland “fortunately refused.”
“On Aug. 2, she wrote on Twitter that Canada was ‘very alarmed’ about the detention of the two women. Ms. Badawi is the sister of Raif Badawi, a blogger serving a 10-year jail sentence for running a website that was critical of Saudi’s strict religious authorities.”
The Washington Post also pointed out that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been intolerant of dissent and jailed dozens of critics, including intellectuals, journalists and advocates of women’s right to drive, adding that most have been thrown in jail for long periods without any semblance of due process.
“When Ms. Freeland called for the Badawis to be freed, the crown prince answered by expelling Canada’s ambassador and severing trade, travel and student exchange links. The intended message: Other countries should mind their own business, or else.”
According to The Washington Post, what Ms. Freeland and Canada correctly understand is that human rights and basic liberty are universal values, not the property of kings and dictators to arbitrarily grant and remove on a whim.
“Saudi Arabia’s long-standing practice of denying basic rights to citizens, especially women — and its particularly cruel treatment of some dissidents, such as the public lashes meted out to Mr. Badawi — are matters of legitimate concern to all democracies and free societies.”
The Washington Post regretted the US administration’s stance which called on Canada and Saudi to resolve their differences without “championing freedom and human rights abroad”, considering that Canada should not hold the human rights banner alone.
‘It is the traditional role of the United States to defend universal values everywhere they are trampled upon and to show bullying autocrats they cannot get away with hiding their dirty work behind closed doors.”
Finally, The Washington Post called on the US and the rest of the G7 nations to support Canada in face of the Saudi “autocrats.”
“Every leading democracy — let’s start with the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations — should retweet Ms. Freeland’s post about the imprisoned Badawis. Basic rights are everybody’s business.”
Source: The Washington Post