The participants of the G20 summit for women must use their platform to stand up for imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activists, according to the rights group.

The Women 20 Summit (W20), hosted virtually by Saudi Arabia this month, must be used to advocate for imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activists, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, calling on attendees to refuse to play a role to play in the “whitewashing efforts” of the kingdom “.

Participants in the W20 – a summit sponsored by the Coalition of Twenty-Member States (G20) that ensures gender considerations are reflected in the agendas and political commitments of world leaders – must vote for the end Any discrimination against Saudi women, HRW, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Saudi government’s use of women’s rights to divert attention from other serious abuses is well documented,” it said.

“The recent changes, including the right to drive and travel without the permission of a male guardian, may be significant, but do not hide the fact that some of the women who campaigned for these changes are still languishing behind bars. “

According to HRW, the participants should be informed about the actions of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against women’s rights activists.

“As of May 2018, authorities arrested well-known activist Loujain al-Hathloul and several others just weeks before the driving ban was lifted,” the group said.

“Al-Hathloul, known for her campaign against driving bans, was held incommunicado for three months after her arrest. Family members say the authorities subjected her to electric shocks, flogging and sexual harassment while in custody.”

According to HRW, others face the same or similar abuse.

Refuse to whitewash

“While brave women are being tortured for peaceful activities, the Saudi government is trying to assert itself on the international stage as a ‘reforming’ power,” said HRW.

W20 attendees shouldn’t play a role in Saudi Arabia’s “whitewashing efforts” and use their platform to advocate for Saudi women’s rights activists, HRW said.

“If they commit themselves to” realizing opportunities for all “, this includes all Saudi activists behind bars and numerous nameless victims of discrimination,” the statement said.