Middle East matters

Saudi women's summit: Rights groups accuse organisers of glossing over abuses

Jailed Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
Jailed Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul. © FRANCE 24

In this edition, we turn our attention to Saudi Arabia, which this week hosted the Women 20 (W2​0) online summit, attended by some of the most powerful women from across the globe. However, there were also many missing faces. Among them were some of the conservative kingdom's most prominent activists, like Loujain al-Hathloul (pictured). According to rights groups, some of these women have faced abuse while imprisoned, including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault. For more on this story, we speak to Hiba Zayadin, a Gulf researcher at Human Rights Watch. 


Meanwhile, there is growing anger across the Arab world, after French President Emmanuel Macron publicly defended cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and made a pledge to crack down on radical Islam. The wrath is being displayed in different ways. Some have called for a boycott of French products, while others have summoned diplomatic representatives of the country in the Middle East. 

We end this week's show with Egypt, where until recent years, rap had remained largely underground. Today, young Egyptian rappers are digging deep to make music about social norms and political life in the country. But censorship is still very much prevalent. Our correspondents Edouard Dropsy and Claire Williot report.

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