Nomination of Loujain Al-Hathloul for the Nobel Peace Prize
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NOBEL PEACE PRIZE to LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL
I HEREBY ENCOURAGE ALL THE QUALIFIED NOMINATORS (see end of article) to NOMINATE LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.
Loujain Al-Hathloul is a prominent Saudi activist and human rights defender who has
demonstrated great personal courage and whose efforts have had a tremendous
impact in Saudi Arabia and beyond. She paved the way for the social reforms seen in the country in 2018: the lift of the driving ban against women, and 2019: the loosening of male guardianship rules. United Nations experts declared that, “Ms Al-Hathloul…[has] been instrumental in the movement to allow women to drive, and the push to end male guardianship.”
Since 2014, the Saudi feminist movement has been publicly engaged in raising awareness, popularising human rights concepts in general, beyond equality for women and men. It is the most organised and articulate civil society in Saudi Arabia, rapidly becoming "the regime's nightmare." Observers believe that the fear of this uncontrolled spread of human rights was the reason for the 2018–2019 crackdown on feminists.
Loujain was one of the leaders in the movement, reshaping the process of mass,
collective consciousness-raising and developing a fully articulated understanding of women’s varying social positions. She was a main voice in the movements “Together We Stand to End Male Guardianship of Women” and “Women Demand the Overthrow of Guardianship” raising awareness online and sharing information.
She has done this at great cost to herself and her well-being. Loujain never used a pseudonym, a current practice to avoid reprisal. She preferred to be visible so girls and women could identify themselves in her and follow her demand for social change. For her efforts, Loujain has been arrested three times.
Loujain Al-Hathloul was arrested on May 15, 2018. She was held incommunicado for 35days before her family was notified. She is still in prison 530 days later. In August 2019, Saudi State Security officials offered to release Loujain if she recorded a video denying that they tortured her. She refused.
The Saudi Government has still given no legal basis for her detention. When Ms.
Al-Hathloul was arrested, officials failed to show any warrant, or other order issued by a lawful authority, that authorized her arrest. The arresting officers also failed to provide verbal confirmation of any laws that Ms. Al-Hathloul might have allegedly violated that would justify her detention.
In the indictment that the Government brought against Ms. Al-Hathloul almost 10 months after her initial detention, 11 out of the 12 charges against her made no reference to any legal violation. In the last charge, the only reference was to a pre-existing Saudi law - “Combating Cybercrime” – where they charged her for using social media to discuss abolishing male guardianship and giving women equal rights.
Loujain has been arrested twice before. Once, in 2014, she was detained for 73 days after driving her car over the Saudi border from the United Arab Emirates, where she was living at the time and where she was licensed to drive. During that period of detention, Ms. Al-Hathloul was never charged. In 2017, she was taken into custody for several days and then released, also without being charged or informed of the legal grounds for her arrest.
Since May 2018, Ms. Al-Hathloul has been interrogated and subjected to psychological and physical torture by State officials, including Saud al-Qahtani, the former advisor to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: electrocution, whipping, waterboarding, sexual harassment, threats of rape and sexual assault, and sleep deprivation. During one of the sessions, Mr. al-Qahtani told Ms. Al-Hathloul “I’ll kill you, cut you into pieces, throw you in the sewer system. But before that, I’ll rape you.”
For the first four months of her imprisonment, Loujain was placed in solitary confinement.
She was returned in April of 2019 and remains there. Her movements are limited and she is rarely exposed to sun. As a result, her muscles are getting weak and she can barely hold anything in hands. She has uncontrollable shaking and difficulty standing. This throws into stark relief her refusal to bend to the Saudi Government’s demands that she deny being tortured.
Ms. Al-Hathloul was targeted, arrested, and detained because she dared to fight for
women’s rights. The United Nations put it plainly, “It is shockingly hypocritical that Ms
Al-Hathloul remains in prison for campaigning to change laws which have since been amended.” Jamal Khashoggi, who would later fall victim to the Government’s attempt to silence prominent critics, identified the arrest of Ms. Al-Hathloul as an attempt to repress political activist, saying, “Loujain should be celebrated now.”
Loujain could easily have a different life. She has a very supportive family. However, she is driven by an enormous desire to contribute to improve children and women
conditions in Saudi Arabia.
IMPACT OF MS. LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL’S NOMINATION
- FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS IS NOT A CRIME
Nominating Loujain is driven by the underlying philosophy of Loujain’s fight for justice: Peace should be the means; Peace should be the end.
Loujain and other activists have fought for fundamental rights in a peaceful manner andare violently repressed. Peaceful actions and protest should be allowed to be a means for positive social change.
We deeply believe that intentionally rewarding such acts will be a great symbol for the World. Loujain’s nomination is even more important in the context of peace in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is a significant country, a model for many countries in the Islamic World. By nominating Loujain, who has been repressed by the Saudi regime for her peaceful protest, the international Community would affirm its support for Peace and its indirect disapproval of Saudi policy, and of any repressive regime. The Nobel Committee will add its voices to the many governmental bodies and NGOs standing up for peace. Through the pressure of soft power, Saudi Arabia may be obliged to review its policy regarding pacifists, and many neighboring countries will follow the example of Saudi Arabia.
- LOUJAIN AS A SYMBOL OF GENDER EQUALITY DEFENDERS
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Through Loujain, this award would go to all gender equality defenders in the world, and specifically those struggling in the repressive regimes of the Middle East. It would life up all the brave women and men who dare to ask for equality, knowing it is the cornerstone of a peaceful society.
Loujain has been the voice for the voiceless, and has been silenced since. This award would therefore be the voice of the voiceless fighting for peace.
- KEEPING PRESSURE ON REPRESSIVE REGIMES
Saudi Arabia has clear ambitions to become a major actor on the international scene. To achieve their goal, Saudi Arabia has abandoned reserve to opt for the use of force to suppress any internal criticism. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi reflects the new norm in Saudi Arabia. The brutality and the impulsivity of that act are the mark of the current Saudi regime.
The scale of Saudi Arabia’s ambition for total control – both inside and beyond its own borders – was first spelled out for the rest of the world in the Kingdom’s bloody
intervention in Yemen in 2015. We also see it in the disappearance for more than 2 weeks of the democratically elected leader of Lebanon during an official visit to Riyadh. Then, there was Khashoggi. Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, was believed to be an enlightened despot. Many applaud the reforms of MBS and do not show great concern over the situation of human rights in the country. Many prefer to carry on their good relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Though international condemnation has increased since Khashoggi was killed, Saudi Arabia shows little contrition. Thus, it is paramount that we make Saudi Arabia
understand that the international community shares neither its policies nor its values.
Rewarding a Saudi women such Loujain will be such a statement, and set an example to other despots.
The Qualified Nominators are :
- Members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of state
- Members of The International Court of Justice in The Hague and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
- Members of l'Institut de Droit International
- Members of the Executive Committee of the international board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
- University professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
- Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- Members of the main board of directors or its equivalent of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
- Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee
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