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Human Rights Watch asks Olympics Committee to take up Saudi discrimination of women in sports

April 6, 2012 - Beirut

Human Rights Watch has urged the International Olympic Committee to take up the issue of Saudi discrimination against women in sports at its next executive board meeting in Quebec on May 23.

Senior Middle East researcher Chistoph Wilcke said that Saudi Arabia has officially confirmed that there is discrimination against women in sports.

"If the International Olympic Committee was looking for an official affirmation of Saudi discrimination against women in sports, the minister in charge just gave it. It is impossible to square Saudi discrimination against women with the noble values of the Olympic Charter," The Express Tribune quoted Wilcke as saying.

"The time is running out for hope that dialogue with Saudi authorities will lead to a change in discriminatory policies. It is clear that a symbolic participation in the London 2012 games by Saudi women athletes does not mean an end to the systematic discrimination against women practicing sports in Saudi Arabia and in international competitions," he added.

His comment came in response to an earlier statement published on the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website that quoted Prince Nawwaf al-Faisal as saying that Saudi Arabia will not allow women to participate sports.

"At present, we are not embracing any female Saudi participation in the Olympics or other international championships," an HRW statement quoted Prince Nawwaf, as saying.


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