What the feds don’t want you to see in their Saudi human rights report

April 15, 2016 – Anna Mehler Paperny and Tania Kohut, Global News

Months after Global News and several other media organizations requested it under access-to-information legislation, Global Affairs Canada released its 2015 human rights report on Saudi Arabia.

But the department redacted everything in the report related to potentially contentious human rights issues.

READ MORE: Reality check: Why is Canada really moving ahead with the Saudi arms deal?

Virtually all of the redactions cite a section of the Access to Information Act that exempts anything that could hurt the Canadian government’s international relations.

Redactors also censored the most interesting part of the report. “Ongoing human rights challenges to watch for in the year:” a section begins. The next line and much of the following page are blacked out.

ongoing human rights challenges 1

READ MORE: Federal government denounces mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Among the censored bits:

Information about the Jan. 2, 2016 death of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken government critic and a key leader of Shiite protests in eastern Saudi Arabia in 2011. He was executed following his conviction in Oct. 2014 of sedition and other charges and sentenced to death.

An excerpt from Canada's report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Some of the redactions read like cheesy cliffhangers: “Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy and “…?

monarchy and

Also censored is information about potential ISIS connections in Saudi Arabia, including Twitter accounts traced to that country.

An excerpt from Canada's report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

It mentions “Reports of child, early and forced marriage,” saying it happens in the kingdom, but not that often.

An excerpt from Canada's report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Being gay is still illegal, but any comment on that matter is blacked out. More work is being done to help victims of domestic abuse, but further analysis on that point is also not for our eyes.

An excerpt from Canada's report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

READ NOW: Saudi Arabia thanks Canada for helping Syrian refugees. But how much is it doing?

Freedom of religion is also a no-go zone:

An excerpt from Canada's report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Some sections are entirely blacked out.

An excerpt from Canada's report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has come under fire for signing off on export permits for Light Armoured Vehicles Canada is selling to Saudi Arabia. The government’s own analysis has suggested these might be used in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is accused of killing civilians indiscriminately.

With files from the Associated Press

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