February 5th, 2019
Laverdière Nominates Loujain Al-Hathloul for Nobel Peace Prize
OTTAWA – NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs, Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie), announced on Tuesday that she has nominated Saudi women’s rights activist, Loujain al-Hathloul, for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
“Loujain al-Hathloul has dedicated her life to establishing equal rights for women in a country well-known for gross human rights violations and for treating women as second-class citizens,” said Laverdière.
Loujain al-Hathloul’s peaceful activism has centred on the right of women to drive, male guardianship, and domestic violence. In 2014, she was arrested for simply driving a car into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. Upon her release, she continued advocating for gender equality. Her persistent efforts to help Saudi women find safe spaces in their own country, including the establishment of a domestic violence shelter inside Saudi Arabia, led to her detention eight months ago, in June 2018, alongside eight other Saudi women’s rights activists. Loujain and the other women remain in Saudi prison to this day.
According to reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the Saudi regime has not only imprisoned these nine women, but some of them were also tortured and sexually assaulted. The abuse suffered by the detainees included solitary confinement, beatings, electric shocks and threats of rape and murder.
“Loujain’s courage to continue working for Saudi women’s equality even as she undergoes extreme and unjust punishment, is more than worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Laverdière. “The torture she and the other women detainees have endured is unconscionable, illegal, and the world must continue to demand their immediate release.”
“Loujain’s relentless courage for the cause of women’s liberation in Saudi Arabia makes her very deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Atiya Jaffar, a member of the group Friends of Loujain based in Vancouver, BC.