NPWJ and FIFDH convene panel discussion on “Human Rights Crisis in Saudi Arabia”

10 Mar, 2020 | Press Releases

Geneva Press Club, 10 March 2020

On the occasion of 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) together with the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) have the pleasure to invite you to a panel discussion on “Human Rights Crisis in Saudi Arabia” to be held at the Geneva Press Club on Tuesday 10 March 2020 at 9:00 am – 11:00 am.

About this Event

Freedom of expression and freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, are essential building blocks of a democratic society. Suppression of dissent by any State power violates the freedom of its own citizens in a flagrant breach of international human rights. Equally, holding people in degrading and inhuman ways, and in the worst case, torturing them is unacceptable for any UN member state.


08:30 Registration and Light breakfast

09:00 Welcome Remarks by Isabelle Gattiker, Director of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH)

Panel discussion

Chair and moderator: Ahmed Bedier, President of United Voices

  • Hatice Cengiz, Justice for Jamal
  • Agnes Callamard, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions
  • Abdullah Alaoudh, Senior Fellow at Georgetown University, son of detained Saudi scholar Salman al-Ouda (by videolink)

Interventions from the floor 

Conclusions by Matthew Hedges, social scientist formerly arbitrarily detained in the UAE

– Venue: Salle de conférence de la Pastorale, Geneva Press Club / Club Suisse de la Presse

         Route de Ferney 106, La Pastorale, 1202 Genève

– Registration: Free admission but registration needed to access. Register here:

Speakers’ bios:

Hatice Cengiz, Founder, Justice for Jamal

Hatice Cengiz is a Turkish scholar and researcher in Middle Eastern studies. She is the fiancée of slain Washington Post editorialist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018. Since that day, Hatice has campaigned for truth and justice for her fiancée, and for the international community to hold accountable those who ordered and planned his killing. In her campaign “Justice for Jamal”, she has testified at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Parliament, the US Congress, and various other national parliaments. 

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

Agnes Callamard is the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions. Dr. Callamard has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally, in civil society organizations, the United Nations and in academia. She is the Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression, an initiative seeking to advance understanding of the international and national norms and institutions that define and protect freedom of expression and information in an inter-connected global community with major common challenges to address.

Abdullah Alaoudh, senior fellow at Georgetown University

Abdullah Alaoudh is a legal scholar and senior fellow at Georgetown University in Washington DC. His father, Salman bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Ouda, was detained by the Saudi authorities in September 2017, when he refused to comply with an order by Saudi authorities to tweet a specific text to support the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar. In a 4 September 2018 legal hearing, prosecutors applied for al-Oulda to be sentenced to death.

Ahmed Bedier

Ahmed Bedier is a Human Rights activist, radio show host and political analyst, expert on Islamic issues. He has participated as a panelist on various television channels, among which CNN and NBC. Bedier is the president of United Voices for America, an organisation promoting civic engagement and democracy, as well as the president of the Human Rights Council of Tampa Bay, Florida. He serves on the state board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida. He co-hosts True Talk, radio program presenting global events from a Muslim perspective.

Isabelle Gattiker 

Isabelle Gattiker co-founded , in 2002, the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), and coordinated the first three editions of the Festival. A film producer, she is a teacher at the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) and the Haute École d’art et de design Genève (HEAD), as well as the coordinator of the HES-SO Film Master’s degree for the ECAL and HEAD from 2011 to 2013. She has been the Director of the Festival since 2015, and is a member of the Commission on Cinema of the Bern canton.

Matthew Hedges, Scholar and former detainee 

Matthew Hedges is a victim of arbitrary detention in the United Arab Emirates: he was aBritish social science doctoral student on a two week study trip when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport, arbitrarily detained for months, sentenced to life imprisonment and eventually pardoned and expelled.