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Women's Rights Defender Hadeel Buqrais Receives Threatening Phone Calls & Messages

Status: 
Threatened
About the situation

On 5 April 2017, Hadeel Buqrais received a large number of e-mails, phone calls, and messages on social media threatening her life and her family after she took part in a peaceful march calling for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

About Hadeel Buqrais

Hadeel Buqrais is an active human rights defender and writer. She works as a freelancer to monitor and document human rights violations by the Kuwaiti government. She previously worked for Kuwait Watch – an NGO that works on the development of legal protections for people in Kuwait. The human rights defender has also been actively involved in a campaign called Namshi Laha, which is translates to “Walking for Her” in English. The campaign calls for gender equality in Saudi Arabia.

5 April 2017
Women's Rights Defender Receives Threatening Phone Calls & Messages

On 5 April 2017, Hadeel Buqrais received a large number of e-mails, phone calls, and messages on social media threatening her life and her family after she took part in a peaceful march calling for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

Hadeel Buqrais is a human rights defender and writer who monitors and documents human rights violations by the Kuwaiti government. She previously worked for Kuwait Watch – an NGO which focuses on the development of legal protections for people in Kuwait. The human rights defender has also been involved in a campaign  for gender equality in Saudi Arabia called Namshi Laha, which translates as “Walking for Her”.

The peaceful march which took place on 5 April 2017, was part of the Namshi Laha campaign which was launched online on 2 April 2017. There have been attempts to block the campaign online by internet users who oppose it, and those involved in the campaign have been targeted with insults on social media. The campaigners, including Hadeel Buqrais, insisted that the campaign should go on as planned with a peaceful march where pink balloons would be released and candles would be lit in solidarity with women in Saudi Arabia. After the march, Hadeel Buqrais received further threats and insults . Personal information was published about her on Twitter and she received  e-mails  containing menacing attacks on her family. Comments against the Namshi Laha campaign organisers were also made by Kuwaiti member of parliament, Waleed Al-Tabtabaee, who claimed that the  campaign promotes an Iranian agenda and thereby jeopardises Kuwaiti-Saudi relations. 

Front Line Defenders is concerned about the threats against Hadeel Buqrais and members of the Namshi Laha campaign.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Kuwait to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats and acts of intimidation against Hadeel Buqrais and members of the Namshi Laha campaign, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Ensure that Hadeel Buqrais and members of the Namshi Laha campaign are protected and allowed to practice  freedom of speech without fear or interference;

3. Ensure that those acting to incite violence against human rights defenders are prosecuted;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kuwait are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.