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Issued by Transparency International Secretariat

More than 220 civil society organisations from around the world have voiced their concerns over the G20 civil society engagement process hosted by and in Saudi Arabia in 2020. The organisations have pledged not to participate in this year’s process, known as the Civil 20 or ‘C20’, the dedicated stream of meetings for civil society within the G20.

The organisations endorsed a statement, originally published in January 2020, that reads in part:

“Instead of real reform, the Saudi government has been trying to whitewash its dire human rights record by holding major international events in the country. This includes the G20 and – through a government-authorized NGO – the C20. As leading civil society organisations present in most countries around the world (but notably not Saudi Arabia), we cannot participate in a process that seeks to give international legitimacy to a state that provides virtually no space for civil society, and where independent civil society voices are not tolerated.”

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said: “Civil society offers the G20 independent, expert policy recommendations to promote sustainable development and improve the lives of billions of people. The G20 must be serious about ensuring an effective civil society engagement where all independent voices have equal standing. We continue to work with our partners to find ways of bringing this expertise to the G20, but will not participate in a process that seeks to launder Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on human rights and independent civil society.”

Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Advocacy, said: “It’s high time for the Saudi Arabian authorities to take meaningful steps to end arbitrary arrests, torture, and unfair trials, and to end its widespread resort to the death penalty. We hope that the dozens of human rights defenders and women’s rights activists behind bars – such as Waleed Abu al-Khair, Loujain al-Hathloul, Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi and Naseema al-Sada – gain strength from this act of solidarity by so many organizations worldwide who are not prepared to allow Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record to be whitewashed. Even better would be their immediate and unconditional release so that they can engage meaningfully with their government on developing human rights compliant laws and policies at home and  abroad – including in relation to the G20”.

Lysa John, Secretary General, CIVICUS, stated “The Saudi authorities have made it virtually impossible for human rights defenders and civil society organisations to operate. Saudi Arabia does not tolerate freedom of speech and scores of human rights defenders and activists are in jail or exile. We refuse to engage in the Saudi-led C20 because we believe that activists and independent civil society organisations will not be able to freely participate in this process.” 

List of organizations endorsing the statement as of 24 March 2020:

A Common FutureCameroon
Association Catholique pour la Protection de l’Environnement au Burundi (ACAPE BURUNDI)Burundi
Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR)Lebanon
Action for Pastoralists Integrated ResilienceKenya
Adilisha Child, Youth Development and Family PreservationTanzania
Advance Center for Peace and Credibility InternationalNigeria
Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)Georgia
Africa Rise FoundationZimbabwe
African Youth Peer Review Committee (AYPRC)Liberia
African Youth Union CommissionNigeria
Association Aide aux Familles et Victimes des Migrations Clandestines (AFVMC)Cameroon
Association pour l’Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi (AIDB Burundi)Burundi
Alcondoms CamerounCameroon
Alliance des Défenseurs des Droits Humains et de l’Environnement au TchadChad
AL-Shafaa OrganisationIraq
Amagugu International Heritage CenterZimbabwe
Angels in the FieldIndia
Anqad Association for Development and Social WelfareMorocco
Ark Wellness Hub UgandaUganda
Action pour le Respect et la Protection de l’Environnement (ARPE)Cameroon
Asociacion Alfalit GuatemalaGuatemala
Association Sauvons la vie, de l’eau potable pour tous (ASSAUVET)Cameroon
Association de Lutte contre le Chomage et la Torture (ALUCHOTO)Burundi
Association des Amis de la NatureBurundi
Association For Promotion Sustainable DevelopmentIndia
Association les Amis du VerbeMorocco
Association of the Prodigy Youth for the Sustainable DevelopmentCentral African Republic
Association of Working Children and YouthsBenin
Aware GirlsPakistan
Bina FoundationNigeria
Bonabo UnitedCameroon
BRIDGE FoundationBangladesh
Brother’s KeeperNigeria
Bunjakko Modern Farm LimitedUganda
Bureau d’Informations, Formations, Échanges et Recherches pour le Développement (BIFERD)Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cairo Institute for Human Rights StudiesEgypt
Calvin Ong’eraKenya
Canadian Centre for Victims of TortureCanada
Canadian Council for International Co-operationCanada
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal NetworkCanada
Center for Constitutional GovernanceUSA
Center for Development of Civil SocietyArmenia
Centre for Law and DemocracyCanada
Centre de Recherche sur l’AnticorruptionDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Centre for Legal SupportGambia
Centre for Media and Development Communication (CEMEDEC)Nigeria
Centre for Social Policy DevelomentPakistan
Community Initiative for Social Empowerment (CISE)Malawi
Children on the EdgeUK
Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal ClinicCanada
Civil Society in Development (CISU)Denmark
Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG)Kenya
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and ConstitutionNigeria
Coalition of Youth Organizations (SEGA)Macedonia
Collectif de Développement et Respect de la Dignité Humaine (CODDHU)Democratic Republic of the Congo
Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)Cambodia
Commonwealth Society of NigeriaNigeria
Community Health Education Sports Initiative ZambiaZambia
Community Youth Initiatives Liberia IncLiberia
Consultando Soluciones REcosrecVenezuela
Coalition d’organisations volontaires et solidaires pour des actions de développement communautaire (COSAD)Benin
Corruption WatchSouth Africa
Curtis BusinessDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Democracy Without BordersGermany
Denis Miki FoundationCameroon
Dhankuta MunicipalityNepal
Diálogo de Mujeres por la DemocraciaNicaragua
Dominion Empowerment SolutionsKenya
Dytech – OutGrow ItZambia
Edutech for AfricaNigeria
EnlacesXSustentabilidadEl Salvador
Enoch Adeyemi FoundationNigeria
Equality NowUSA
Fédération Internationale des Entrepreneurs et ou Etudiants Africains d’Affaires (FIEAA)Guinea
Front Commun pour la Protection de l’Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP)Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fellowship for Community Enlightenment (FCE)Uganda
Federación Nacional de Personerías de Colombia (FENALPER)Colombia
Focus Youth Forum (FYF)Uganda
Freedom NowUSA
Fund Our FutureSouth Africa
Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional (FINDER)El Salvador
Fundación Selva SagradaEcuador
Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS)Argentina
Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad CiudadanaPanama
Futur RadieuxTogo
Gatef OrganizationEgypt
Geospatial OrganizationTanzania
Germany Zimbabwe ForumGermany
Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in DevelopmentGhana
Give Hope UgandaUganda
Global Network for Sustainable DevelopmentNigeria
Global WitnessUK
Global Shapers Castries HubSaint Lucia
Globalpeace ChainKenya
Gram Bharati SamitiIndia
Gulf Centre for Human RightsMiddle East
Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA)Zimbabwe
HAKI AfricaKenya
Hands of External Love ProgramLiberia
Hannibal Entertainment Visual Studio ProductionNigeria
Hitesh BHATTIndia
HOPE Worldwide-PakistanNew Zealand
Human Rights FirstInternational
Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of OttawaCanada
Human Rights WatchUSA
Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD)Uruguay
India Media CentreIndia
Initiative de Gestion Civile des Crises (IGC)Burundi
Institute of Peace and Conflict ResolutionNigeria
Instituto para el Futuro Común Amerindio (IFCA)Honduras
International Center for Accelerated DevelopmentNigeria
International Development Opportunity InitiativeGhana
International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA NigeriaNigeria
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)Switzerland
International Student Environmental CoalitionCameroon
Interregional Public Charitable Organization of Assistance to Persons with Disabilities Sail of HopeRussia
Jeunesse AssistanceNiger
Justice  Access PointUganda
Justice Initiative for the Disadvantaged and Oppressed Persons (JIDOP)Nigeria
JVBCUnited States of America
Key populations UgandaUganda
Konstitusiya Arasdırmalar FonduAzerbaijan
Vulnerable People’s Development Organization (KOTHOWAIN)Bangladesh
Kurdistan Without GenocideIraq
Kuza Livelihood Improovement ProjectsKenya
Laxman Belbase – IndividualNepal
The Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO)Botswana
Leila OguntayoTunisia
Liberia Media CenterLiberia
Local Communities Development InitiativeNigeria
Makerere University UgandaUganda
Malawi Human Rights Defenders CoalitionMalawi
Mama leah FondationKenya
Moabite Indigenous Nation TrustUnited States of America
Morya Samajik PratishthanIndia
Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM)Cameroon
Mzimba Youth OrganizationMalawi
National Sudanese Women AssociationSudan
Network of Estonian Non-profit OrganizationsEstonia
New Owerri Youth OrganisationNigeria
Nobel Women’s InitiativeCanada
One More SalaryTanzania
ONG Les BatisseursUnited States of America
Organization of the Justice CampaignIraq
ORUDDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity NetworkFiji
Pakistan NGOs ForumPakistan
Palestinian Center for Communication and Development StrategiesPalestine
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)Palestine
Parent-Child Intervention CentreNigeria
Participatory Research Action Network (PRAN)Bangladesh
Peaceful and Active Centre for Humanity (PEACH)Pakistan
PEN InternationalUK
Primadent Initiative for Oral HealthNigeria
Public Organization Youth HouseTajikistan
Rainbow Pride FoundationFiji
Rainbow Sunrise MapambazukoDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Real Agenda For Youth TransformationZimbabwe
Red Global de Acción Juvenil (GYAN)Mexico
Richard BennettUnited Kingdom
Rural Initiatives in Sustainability & Empowerment (RISE)Pakistan
Rideau InstituteCanada
Rising Generation for Youth OrganizationNigeria
Réseau Nigérien des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (RNDDH)Niger
Role Model ZambiaZambia
Sauti ya Haki TanzaniaTanzania
Shanduko Yeupenyu Child CareZimbabwe
Sierra Leone School Green ClubsSierra Leone
Social Watch BeninBenin
Society for Development and ResearchPakistan
Society for Rural Women and Youth DevelopmentNigeria
South Sudan Community Change AgencySouth Sudan
Street Youth Connection Sierra Leone (SYC-SL)Sierra Leone
Success Capital OrganisationBotswana
Sudda Changing Lives FoundationGhana
Synergy of experts on environment and sustainable developmentBurkina Faso
TATU ProjectTanzania
Human Rights Defenders Network (ACPDH)Burundi
The Rock ShalomKenya
The Social Science Centre for African Development (KUTAFITI)Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Young RepublicSweden
The Tax Justice NetworkUK
The Youth Voice of SASouth Africa
Tochukwu AnyadikeNigeria
Transparency International AustraliaAustralia
Tranparency International BangladeshBangladesh
Transparencia por ColombiaColombia
Transparency International EUBelgium
Transparency International KazakhstanKazakhstan
Transparency International UgandaUganda
Transparency International UkraineUkraine
Transparency International PakistanPakistan
Union des Frères pour Alternatif du Developpement Intégré (UFADI)Haiti
Uganda Youth Guidance and Development AssociationUganda
Ugonma FoundationNigeria
Ukana West 2 Community Based Health InitiativeNigeria
Union for the Promotion, Defense of Human Rights and the Environment-UPDDHE.GLDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Vanuatu Association of Non-Government OrganisationVanuatu
VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM – The World is One FamilyIndia
Veille CitoyenneTogo
Vijana HopeDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Volunteers Hub LiberiaLiberia
Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia (VOWAZA)Zambia
WDC SomaliaSomalia
We Lead Intergrated FoundationCameroon
Women Empowerment Group (WEG)Kenya
Women United to Fight Sexual Violence in Liberia (WOUFSVIL)Liberia
Women’s March GlobalUnited States of America
World Youth Union SLSierra Leone
Yole AfricaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Young League PakistanPakistan
Youth Advocates for ChangeZambia
Youth For ChangeNigeria
Youth for Development NetworkLiberia
Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation)Nepal
Youth for Future 2006Romania
Youth Harvest Foundation GhanaGhana
Youth Leadership Initiative for Social JusticeNigeria
Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil SocietyZambia
Zimbabwe Climate Change CoalitionZimbabwe

The statement was published on Transparency International

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