Saudi Arabia has reneged on an agreement to allow women to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games, barely before the ink had time to dry on the paperwork.
Saudi, together with Qatar and Brunei, is one of only three nations to have never been represented by a sportswoman, in violation of the Olympics own charter which pledges equality without discrimination.
Bikyamasr reports Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement condemning the ban, saying “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit.” HRW went on to point out that within Saudi "government restrictions on women essentially bar them from sports."
Arabian Business reported that HRW castigated Saudi for the exclusion of women and girls from exercise and sport as "part and parcel of the wide-scale, systematic discrimination against them in the country". Digital Journalrecently reported that the Kingdom does plan to allow women to be part of a segregated audience when the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah opens in 2014.
Saudi is flouting the charter set by the International Olympic Committee, which forbids “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise. " (CNS News) Human Rights at the Institute of Gulf Affairs has created a campaign, "No Women No Play" in order to "allow women in Saudi Arabia to attain full political, social economic and legal rights."
Those calling for Saudi to end its discriminatory practices and allow women to compete in the Olympics believe that unless the ban is lifted the Kingdom should be banned from participating in the games.