Jean-Jacques Cornish

Hosting the G20 summit turns spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the world’s richest countries must cooperate to overcome the unprecedented shock of the COVID 19 pandemic.

He was speaking at the opening of the G20 summit in Riyhad which is being hosted for the first time by the kingdom.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is participating in the summit which is being held virtually became of the coronavirus lockdown.

Bin Salman said at the opening that it is vital for the COVID 19 vaccine, weeks away from being injected into the arms of caregivers and potential victims, be distributed to every nation.

Secretary General of Norway’s Refugee Council Jan Egeland says the G20 can only recover from the pandemic if the countries make exponential payments to the world’s poorest countries to overcome the effects of it.

Holding the summit virtually has robbed Soudi Arabia of an opportunity to showcase its economic advances.

However, the spotlight has turned brightly on human rights violations in the kingdom.

Amnesty International urges the G20 “not to buy the Saudi spin because the real change makers in the kingdom are in jail.”

Human Rights Watch says the summit  “helps Saudi Arabia deflect from its image as a pervasive human rights violator.”

The family of the most outspoken dissident is urging G20 leader to press the Saudi authorities to release 31-year-old women’s rights defender Loujain al Hathloul.

She’s been in jail since May 2018 and is understood to be on hunger strike.

Her family say she has been tortured and suffered sexual abuse in jail.

Saudi foreign minister Adel Jubeir says Hathloul is being held for national security reasons not because of her women’s right activism.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.