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G20: Hundreds of civil society organizations pledge to avoid Saudi Arabia-led process

More than 220 civil society organisations from around the world have voiced their concerns over the G20 civil society engagement process hosted by and in Saudi Arabia in 2020. The organisations have pledged not to participate in this year’s process, known as the Civil 20 or ‘C20’, the dedicated stream of meetings for civil society within the G20.

The organisations endorsed a statement, originally published in January 2020, that reads in part:

“Instead of real reform, the Saudi government has been trying to whitewash its dire human rights record by holding major international events in the country. This includes the G20 and – through a government-authorized NGO – the C20. As leading civil society organisations present in most countries around the world (but notably not Saudi Arabia), we cannot participate in a process that seeks to give international legitimacy to a state that provides virtually no space for civil society, and where independent civil society voices are not tolerated.”

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said: “Civil society offers the G20 independent, expert policy recommendations to promote sustainable development and improve the lives of billions of people. The G20 must be serious about ensuring an effective civil society engagement where all independent voices have equal standing. We continue to work with our partners to find ways of bringing this expertise to the G20, but will not participate in a process that seeks to launder Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on human rights and independent civil society.”

Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Advocacy, said: “It’s high time for the Saudi Arabian authorities to take meaningful steps to end arbitrary arrests, torture, and unfair trials, and to end its widespread resort to the death penalty. We hope that the dozens of human rights defenders and women’s rights activists behind bars - such as Waleed Abu al-Khair, Loujain al-Hathloul, Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi and Naseema al-Sada - gain strength from this act of solidarity by so many organizations worldwide who are not prepared to allow Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record to be whitewashed. Even better would be their immediate and unconditional release so that they can engage meaningfully with their government on developing human rights compliant laws and policies at home and abroad – including in relation to the G20”.

Lysa John, Secretary General, CIVICUS, stated “The Saudi authorities have made it virtually impossible for human rights defenders and civil society organisations to operate. Saudi Arabia does not tolerate freedom of speech and scores of human rights defenders and activists are in jail or exile. We refuse to engage in the Saudi-led C20 because we believe that activists and independent civil society organisations will not be able to freely participate in this process.”

List of organizations endorsing the statement as of 24 March 2020:

A Common Future Cameroon
Association Catholique pour la Protection de l'Environnement au Burundi (ACAPE BURUNDI) Burundi
Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) Lebanon
Action for Pastoralists Integrated Resilience Kenya
Adilisha Child, Youth Development and Family Preservation Tanzania
Advance Center for Peace and Credibility International Nigeria
Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD) Georgia
Africa Rise Foundation Zimbabwe
African Youth Peer Review Committee (AYPRC) Liberia
African Youth Union Commission Nigeria
Association Aide aux Familles et Victimes des Migrations Clandestines (AFVMC) Cameroon
Association pour l'Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi (AIDB Burundi) Burundi
Alcondoms Cameroun Cameroon
Alliance des Défenseurs des Droits Humains et de l'Environnement au Tchad Chad
AL-Shafaa Organisation Iraq
Amagugu International Heritage Center Zimbabwe
Angels in the Field India
Anqad Association for Development and Social Welfare Morocco
Ark Wellness Hub Uganda Uganda
Action pour le Respect et la Protection de l'Environnement (ARPE) Cameroon
Asociacion Alfalit Guatemala Guatemala
Aspafrique-Jics Switzerland
Association Sauvons la vie, de l'eau potable pour tous (ASSAUVET) Cameroon
Association de Lutte contre le Chomage et la Torture (ALUCHOTO) Burundi
Association des Amis de la Nature Burundi
Association For Promotion Sustainable Development India
Association les Amis du Verbe Morocco
Association of the Prodigy Youth for the Sustainable Development Central African Republic
Association of Working Children and Youths Benin
Aware Girls Pakistan
Bina Foundation Nigeria
Bonabo United Cameroon
BRIDGE Foundation Bangladesh
Brother's Keeper Nigeria
Bunjakko Modern Farm Limited Uganda
Bureau d'Informations, Formations, Échanges et Recherches pour le Développement (BIFERD) Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Egypt
Calvin Ong'era Kenya
Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture Canada
Canadian Council for International Co-operation Canada
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Canada
Center for Constitutional Governance USA
Center for Development of Civil Society Armenia
Centre for Law and Democracy Canada
Centre de Recherche sur l'Anticorruption Democratic Republic of the Congo
Centre for Legal Support Gambia
Centre for Media and Development Communication (CEMEDEC) Nigeria
Centre for Social Policy Develoment Pakistan
Community Initiative for Social Empowerment (CISE) Malawi
Children on the Edge UK
Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic Canada
Civil Society in Development (CISU) Denmark
Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) Kenya
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution Nigeria
Coalition of Youth Organizations (SEGA) Macedonia
Collectif de Développement et Respect de la Dignité Humaine (CODDHU) Democratic Republic of the Congo
CODENET Cameroon
Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) Cambodia
Commonwealth Society of Nigeria Nigeria
Community Health Education Sports Initiative Zambia Zambia
Community Youth Initiatives Liberia Inc Liberia
Consultando Soluciones REcosrec Venezuela
Coalition d'organisations volontaires et solidaires pour des actions de développement communautaire (COSAD) Benin
Corruption Watch South Africa
Curtis Business Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democracy Without Borders Germany
Denis Miki Foundation Cameroon
Dhankuta Municipality Nepal
Diálogo de Mujeres por la Democracia Nicaragua
Dominion Empowerment Solutions Kenya
Dytech - OutGrow It Zambia
Edutech for Africa Nigeria
EnlacesXSustentabilidad El Salvador
Enoch Adeyemi Foundation Nigeria
Equality Now USA
Fédération Internationale des Entrepreneurs et ou Etudiants Africains d'Affaires (FIEAA) Guinea
Front Commun pour la Protection de l'Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP) Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fellowship for Community Enlightenment (FCE) Uganda
Federación Nacional de Personerías de Colombia (FENALPER) Colombia
Focus Youth Forum (FYF) Uganda
Freedom Now USA
Fund Our Future South Africa
Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional (FINDER) El Salvador
Fundación Selva Sagrada Ecuador
Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS) Argentina
Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana Panama
Futur Radieux Togo
Gatef Organization Egypt
Geospatial Organization Tanzania
Germany Zimbabwe Forum Germany
Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development Ghana
Give Hope Uganda Uganda
Global Network for Sustainable Development Nigeria
Global Witness UK
Global Shapers Castries Hub Saint Lucia
Globalpeace Chain Kenya
Gram Bharati Samiti India
Gulf Centre for Human Rights Middle East
Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA) Zimbabwe
HAKI Africa Kenya
Hands of External Love Program Liberia
Hannibal Entertainment Visual Studio Production Nigeria
Hitesh BHATT India
HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan New Zealand
Human Rights First International
Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa Canada
Human Rights Watch USA
Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD) Uruguay
India Media Centre India
Individual Pakistan
Initiative de Gestion Civile des Crises (IGC) Burundi
Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution Nigeria
Instituto para el Futuro Común Amerindio (IFCA) Honduras
International Center for Accelerated Development Nigeria
International Development Opportunity Initiative Ghana
International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA Nigeria Nigeria
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) Switzerland
International Student Environmental Coalition Cameroon
Interregional Public Charitable Organization of Assistance to Persons with Disabilities Sail of Hope Russia
Jeunesse Assistance Niger
Justice Access Point Uganda
Justice Initiative for the Disadvantaged and Oppressed Persons (JIDOP) Nigeria
JVBC United States of America
Key populations Uganda Uganda
Konstitusiya Arasdırmalar Fondu Azerbaijan
Vulnerable People's Development Organization (KOTHOWAIN) Bangladesh
Kurdistan Without Genocide Iraq
Kuza Livelihood Improovement Projects Kenya
Laxman Belbase - Individual Nepal
The Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) Botswana
Leila Oguntayo Tunisia
Liberia Media Center Liberia
Local Communities Development Initiative Nigeria
Makerere University Uganda Uganda
Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition Malawi
Mama leah Fondation Kenya
Moabite Indigenous Nation Trust United States of America
Morya Samajik Pratishthan India
Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM) Cameroon
Mzimba Youth Organization Malawi
Narayana India
National Sudanese Women Association Sudan
Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations Estonia
New Owerri Youth Organisation Nigeria
Nobel Women's Initiative Canada
One More Salary Tanzania
ONG Les Batisseurs United States of America
Organization of the Justice Campaign Iraq
ORUD Democratic Republic of the Congo
Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network Fiji
Pakistan NGOs Forum Pakistan
Palestinian Center for Communication and Development Strategies Palestine
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) Palestine
Parent-Child Intervention Centre Nigeria
Participatory Research Action Network (PRAN) Bangladesh
Peaceful and Active Centre for Humanity (PEACH) Pakistan
PEN International UK
Primadent Initiative for Oral Health Nigeria
Public Organization Youth House Tajikistan
Rainbow Pride Foundation Fiji
Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko Democratic Republic of the Congo
Real Agenda For Youth Transformation Zimbabwe
Red Global de Acción Juvenil (GYAN) Mexico
Richard Bennett United Kingdom
Rural Initiatives in Sustainability & Empowerment (RISE) Pakistan
Rideau Institute Canada
Rising Generation for Youth Organization Nigeria
Réseau Nigérien des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (RNDDH) Niger
Role Model Zambia Zambia
Sauti ya Haki Tanzania Tanzania
Self Norway
Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care Zimbabwe
Sierra Leone School Green Clubs Sierra Leone
Social Watch Benin Benin
Society for Development and Research Pakistan
Society for Rural Women and Youth Development Nigeria
South Sudan Community Change Agency South Sudan
Street Youth Connection Sierra Leone (SYC-SL) Sierra Leone
Success Capital Organisation Botswana
Sudda Changing Lives Foundation Ghana
Synergy of experts on environment and sustainable development Burkina Faso
TATU Project Tanzania
Human Rights Defenders Network (ACPDH) Burundi
The Rock Shalom Kenya
The Social Science Centre for African Development (KUTAFITI) Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Young Republic Sweden
The Tax Justice Network UK
The Youth Voice of SA South Africa
Tochukwu Anyadike Nigeria
Transparency International Australia Australia
Tranparency International Bangladesh Bangladesh
Transparencia por Colombia Colombia
Transparency International EU Belgium
Transparency International Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
Transparency International Uganda Uganda
Transparency International Ukraine Ukraine
Transparency International Pakistan Pakistan
Union des Frères pour Alternatif du Developpement Intégré (UFADI) Haiti
Uganda Youth Guidance and Development Association Uganda
Ugonma Foundation Nigeria
Ukana West 2 Community Based Health Initiative Nigeria
Union for the Promotion, Defense of Human Rights and the Environment-UPDDHE.GL Democratic Republic of the Congo
Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisation Vanuatu
VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM - The World is One Family India
Veille Citoyenne Togo
Vijana Hope Democratic Republic of the Congo
Volunteers Hub Liberia Liberia
Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia (VOWAZA) Zambia
WDC Somalia Somalia
We Lead Intergrated Foundation Cameroon
Women Empowerment Group (WEG) Kenya
Women United to Fight Sexual Violence in Liberia (WOUFSVIL) Liberia
Women's March Global United States of America
World Youth Union SL Sierra Leone
WorldEat Ghana
Yole Africa Democratic Republic of the Congo
Young League Pakistan Pakistan
Youth Advocates for Change Zambia
Youth For Change Nigeria
Youth for Development Network Liberia
Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation) Nepal
Youth for Future 2006 Romania
Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana Ghana
Youth Leadership Initiative for Social Justice Nigeria
Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society Zambia
Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition


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