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Human Rights Watch Calls On DJs at Saudi Arabia's MDLBeast Festival To “Speak Up For Human Rights Or Not Participate”

The festival is sponsored by the Saudi Government General Entertainment Authority and is part of the Vision 2030 framework.
Martin Garrix MDLBeast Soundsystem 2019 Festival

Martin Garrix at MDLBeast Soundsystem 2019

Human Rights Watch has called for the DJs performing at MDLBeast in Riyadh to either “speak up for human rights or else not participate.”

MDLBeast is a large music festival and conference taking place right now in Saudi Arabia. The second edition will feature global DJ stars like Sven Vath, Tiësto, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Charlotte de Witte, Jeff Mills, Nina Kraviz and Carl Cox, among many others.

Writing under the pseudonym Arwa Youssef, the HRW staffer noted that the festival is sponsored by the Saudi Government's General Entertainment Authority and is part of the Vision 2030 framework. The GEA was created in 2016 to expand the country’s entertainment industry.

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The crux of the issue is the actions of the Saudi Government, who is tied to the festival. Things that are noted include the jailing and torturing political prisoners, bonesawing of critical journalists or the Yemeni Civil War, which the UN said "may amount to war crimes." The HRW says artists "should distance themselves from the country’s attempts to whitewash its horrific rights record."

MDLBeast Soundstorm will take place this weekend from December 16-19.

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