Tuesday, 7/08/2018, Washington, (DC Insider) – This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia is being criticized for human rights violations against women by other countries, and especially Canada, yet it seems that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is changing the Kingdom’s discourse.
The heat started when the Canadian foreign minister expressed concerns over the recent arrest of women rights activists in Saudi Arabia. But on Monday, the Saudi government responded harshly.
The government ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the country within 24 hours. It also went on for halting trade and investment deals with Canada.
Moreover, the Saudi media reported that all the educational exchange programs between the two counters would be suspended, depriving nearly 12,000 Saudi students studying in Canada from pursuing their studies.
The Saudi airline said that it will suspend flights to Canada, starting from the 13th of August.
The Saudi government said in a statement on Monday that the Canadian criticism of the Saudi domestic issues is a contradiction of the international norms and emphasized that the it is an “unacceptable affront to the Kingdom’s laws and judicial process.”
The statement also described the Canadian call for releasing the imprisoned activists as “reprehensible”.
In response, the Canadian foreign affairs minister, Chrustia Freeland, said in a statement that ” Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights, and freedom of expression around the world.”
Freelance also emphasized that Canada’s officials have asked the Saudis procedural questions, and that they are waiting for answers on how the relationship with Saudi will go forward.
Since his arrival to power, Crown Prince Bin Salaman, tried so hard to easing some extreme religious and social norms, yet he was accused of triggering some foreign conflicts such as the civil war in Yemen and the struggle with Qatar.
Analysts believe that this tension is not meant to go further, yet it is just a message from the Saudis to Canada that the Kingdom will not go silent regarding Canada’s criticism.