Ottawa stands its ground on human rights – Saudis to relocate 7,000 students from Canada

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman makes the rules in Riyadh.

Ottawa – Canada says it’ll not bend on the issue of human rights violations despite Saudi Arabia’s angry reaction to criticism of it’s record in dealing with women activists.

On Sunday, Saudis reacted with fury to external affairs minister Chrystia Freeland’s tweets about the rights of activists who have been jailed by the orthodox Arab kingdom. They ordered Canada’s ambassador to leave, recalled their own and put business dealings on hold.

In further moves, Saudis said they’ll relocate 7,000 scholarship students in Canada to nicer countries such as the UK and the USA.

But the Saudi threats did not seem to rattle Ottawa.

On Monday, Canada reiterated its position on human rights.

Canada's eternal affairs minister. Canada stands by its advocacy of human rights in Saudi row.

“We are deeply concerned that Saudi Arabia has expelled Canada’s ambassador in response to Canadian statements in defence of human rights activists detained in the kingdom,” said external affairs minister Chrystia Freeland.

“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world. We will never hesitate to promote these values and we believe that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy.” she said in a statement issued by her office.

“The Embassy of Canada to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, continues its regular operations, including consular services.

“Canada will continue to advocate for human rights and for the brave women and men who push for these fundamental rights around the world.”

A prominent Saudi human rights campaigner supported Canada and asked when others would question the arrests.

Earlier story:

Angry Saudis boot out Canadian ambassador