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OF EXPRESSIONS, BLOCKING MEDIA OUTLETS AND STYMIEING CIVIL MOVEMENTS November 20, 2008 This is not the first time where the Saudi Authority has taken deliberate actions to block possible venues for peaceful expressions. It is not also the first time the authority has adopted policies aimed at thwarting public initiatives that supposed to lead to spreading and advancement in human rights. This time around, however, the suppressive campaign has intensified in response to the hunger strike that took place on 6-7 November 2008, which was observed and called for by the defense teams for jailed Saudi human right activists from the constitutional reform and civil society. These oppressive practices are stark evidence of flagrant violations of the right to freedom of expressions as prescribed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stated in Article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." Furthermore, the Saudi authority behavior also flamboyantly contradicts Article 20 which states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association." In March 2008, the Saudi Consultative Council has signed and ratified the Arab Charter in Human Rights, which states in Article 24: "Every citizen has the right to freely form and join associations with others and the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly." Article 32 of the Charter states: "The present Charter guarantees the right to information and to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medium, regardless of geographical boundaries." It is known that the government of Saudi Arabia had accepted the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Arab Charter in Human Rights, which make the respect and safeguard fundamental human rights incumbent duties. In reality, however, the domestic dealings of the Saudi authority vis-à-vis human right activists clearly violate both the literal meaning and the spirit of the international covenants. As in example of the latest witch hunts against human right activists is the cancellation of Dr.Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani's TV talk show (Economic Issues) in Al-Eqtisadiah Business Channel (a Pan-Arab satellite channel) in response to the interviews he had with the international media outlets during the hunger strike. The episodes of blocking blogs that belong to human right activists continue, the authority's latest casualty is Mr. Esam Mudeer's Blog which has been blocked because of his involvements in publicizing, publishing, following and participating in the hunger strike. Unfortunately, these suppressive steps become the inevitable fates for those Saudi activists who intend to uplift and call for human rights. The activists' responses to the government's suppressive campaigns have been very remarkable. The crackdown on venues for expressions has drawn activists closer to one another, and attracts new waves of sympathizers who will eventually join the human right activities. In particular, young followers are fascinated by the culture of human rights and justice due to the fact that it is built around virtues of peace and civic means, their supports to that culture are clear examples of the solidarity and dedication they showed to such a noble cause. Over the course of years, Saudi activists have become mature in their plights to achieve peace and justice in their community despite all suppressive campaigns. A new anniversary is approaching, 10th of December is dear to each and every Saudi human right activists in general and bloggers in particular. It is the day that celebrates free speech as the corner stone in human rights, and it is also the day when Saudi Arabia signed and ratified international human right conventions. The 10th of December as well coincides with another anniversary, the unjust arrest and detention of Mr. Foud Al-Farhan the honoree dean of Saudi bloggers due to his writing campaigns to defend human right activists who have been detained in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Upon Mr. Al-Farhan's imprisonment, many Saudi activists and bloggers came together and stood up to defend him with all possible means; and we ask all activists, writers, and bloggers in Saudi Arabia to dedicate the 10th of December in each year to be the day for human rights which must be celebrated by preserving freedom of expressions and by absolutely rejecting totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and transgressions. We also take this opportunity to express our deep love and affection to our country (Saudi Arabia) and we wish it to be the best country in the whole world in terms of its respect to justice and human rights. We also express our deepest respect and sympathies to all activists who have been suffering from severe censorships which confiscated their rights to freedom and liberty, and they were forced painfully to grapple with alternative venues to express their personal sentiments.

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