WHO WE ARE:

ALQST for Human Rights is an independent NGO established in 2014 by Saudi Arabian human rights defender Yahya Assiri for the purpose of defending and promoting human rights in Saudi Arabia. ‘Al-qist’ means ‘justice’ in Arabic, and a passion for justice lies at the heart of all our work. We take a consistent human rights-based approach based on international human rights law and international standards, and defend fundamental rights for all without any distinction of race, colour, sex, language, religion or national or social origin. We conduct on-the-ground research, engage in international legal and public advocacy, and campaign on behalf of victims of human rights abuses. 

OUR VISION:

We strive for a Saudi Arabia where human rights are respected by all; where all enjoy the right to freely and peacefully express their opinions; where all benefit from transparency and legal due process guarantees; where prisoners are at all times treated humanely and their rights upheld by the judiciary; where the rights of religious minorities, migrant workers and stateless persons are recognised and upheld; and where women are empowered to take an active and equal part in society.

HOW WE WORK:

Monitoring & Documentation 

While civil society in Saudi Arabia has largely been silenced, and individuals communicating with the outside world are at high risk of reprisals, we maintain an extensive network of sources within Saudi Arabia that enables us to closely monitor human rights violations on the ground and bring them to the attention of the international community. Our Europe-based team analyses the information and disseminates it widely by sharing breaking news, writing urgent statements, and researching and publishing larger reports, including our Annual Report. Being a principal source for human rights information relating to Saudi Arabia, ALQST plays a pivotal role in helping to inform other civil society actors, political and business stakeholders, the media and the wider public. 

Advocacy 

We raise individual cases as well as patterns and new trends of human rights violations with various international, regional and national bodies, including the UN human rights system, EU institutions and the British parliament, as well as individual stakeholders such as diplomats and companies doing business with Saudi Arabia. ALQST’s advocacy and lobbying activities are aimed at encouraging key decision makers to develop policy positions that will increase pressure on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to improve the human rights situation on the ground. 

Campaigning & Awareness Raising

ALQST conducts global campaigns via social media activity as well as online materials and in-person protests to raise awareness about human rights violations inside Saudi Arabia. ALQST also regularly participates in UN Human Rights Council sessions as well as holding public events, including an annual conference that brings together a wide range of experts on Saudi Arabia to discuss the various human rights concerns in the country. ALQST maintains an active presence in the media, giving interviews and quotes to the press, and its work is regularly quoted in major international outlets. 

Safa Al Ahmad
ALQST Acting Director

Safa Al Ahmad is a Saudi journalist and filmmaker who has directed documentaries for PBS and the BBC. She is the winner of the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Journalism, the El Mundo award for journalism for her body of work in 2015, the 2015 Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) International Press Freedom Award and the Association of International Broadcasting (AIB) Best International Investigation for her film Saudi's Secret Uprising in 2014 . Her documentary 'Yemen Under Siege' won two News and Documentary Emmys. She is also the recipient of the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan for 2019. Safa was a board member of the Frontline Freelance Register, and advocates for the safety and welfare of freelance journalists who are exposed to risk in their work.'

Yahya Assiri
Founder of Alqst organization

Yahya Assiri is a Saudi Arabian human rights activist and founder of ALQST. He is currently the Head of Monitoring and Documentation at ALQST and a member of it’s board of Trustees. He has a Masters degree in Human Rights and Political Communications from Kingston University, London and has a Bachelor’s degree in Administration from King Faisal Aviation College in Riyadh. He is the General Secretary of the National Assembly Party (NAAS).

Joshua Cooper
Deputy Director

Before joining ALQST, Josh Cooper worked as Membership and Information Officer at the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), and as a volunteer for Amnesty International’s Gulf team. He has a undergraduate degree in Arabic and Middle East Studies from Exeter University and a masters degree in the Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice from SOAS University, with his dissertation focusing on human rights in the Gulf.

Omaima Al Najjar
Director of Campaigns

Omaima Al Najjar is a Saudi Arabian human rights activist, blogger, nurse and physician. She was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. In 2006, she joined the Saudi National Guard Health Affair’s College of Nursing in Riyadh where she obtained her BSc degree in Nursing Science . In 2011, Al Najjar moved to China where she obtained refugee status and studied Medicine and Surgery in Jilin University. She is currently studying to obtain a postgraduate diploma in Surgery from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Julia Legner
Director of Advocacy

Julia Legner is a political scientist and human rights professional with over six years of work experience providing legal assistance and advocating on behalf of victims of human and labour rights violationsin the MENA region. She held different policy and legal advocacy positions in Beirut, Geneva and Berlin. She holds a BA in Arabic and International Relations from Westminster University and an MA in Middle Eastern Politics from the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London.

Abdullah Aljuraywi
Director of Communication (Arabic)

A human rights activist. Born and raised in Riyadh and lived there until he moved to the United Kingdom in 2019. He has completed more than 5,000 hours of social activism and supervised several conferences and exhibitions. He is a founding member of a conference organising institution and is the volunteering affairs officer for the Electronic Bees.

Sahar Al-Faifi
Volunteer

Sahar Al-Faifi is a molecular geneticist by training and community activist by passion. Sahar’s activism focuses on seeking to unlock the power of civil society, widen the Muslim participation and engagement and build a broad-based alliance for different campaigns that include human rights, welcoming refugees, living wage, anti-racism and anti-Islamophobia. She is also a blogger at Huffington Post, written for the Independent and participated in many TV shows and debates.