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Int’l rights groups speak out against Saudi Arabia’s Expo bid

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A joint letter of fifteen international human rights organizations urging BIE member states to vote against Saudi Arabia. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Fifteen international human rights organizations expressed opposition to Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the World Expo 2030 in a joint letter released Tuesday, citing the regime’s “history of violating basic human rights and curbing freedoms.”

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The groups urged member states of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to vote against Saudi Arabia at the final election, which will take place on Nov. 28 in Paris.
Most of the groups are based in the United States and Europe, but ALQST For Human Rights is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

“We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our deep concern about Saudi Arabia’s candidacy to host the World Expo 2030. By providing a global platform to a regime with a history of violating basic human rights and curbing freedoms, the international community risks sending a tacit message that such actions are acceptable.”

The statement cited the country’s “appalling human rights situation.”

“In the last few years, freedom of expression and civic space have shrunk to nonexistence, torture and enforced disappearance are routinely used as punishment, and executions have skyrocketed to an all-time high in the Kingdom,” the statement noted.

Saudi Arabia was also chosen by FIFA to host the 2034 World Cup, a decision that angered human rights activists across the globe.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, said that FIFA “broke its own human rights rules” by naming Saudi Arabia host.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]