3 September 2015 – Today, eight U.S. and internationally-based NGOs, in partnership with seven foreign policy experts and human rights advocates, sent a letter to President Obama that urges him to press Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for greater civil society protections within the kingdom. Tomorrow, King Salman will meet President Obama at the White House to commence his first official U.S. visit as head of state.
President Obama has repeatedly highlighted the importance of a robust civil society in countering violent extremism and ensuring domestic stability. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, however, has worked to close independent civic organizations in the country, arresting activists and preventing human rights groups from operating legally. To ensure the future stability of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors, the letter’s signatories request that the president press King Salman to release imprisoned activists and decree a law of association that guarantees the independent operation of civil society groups.
A PDF of the full letter can be read here.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America Foundation
Brian Dooley, Human Rights First
Celine Assaf, Human Rights Foundation
Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute
Rahman Aljebouri, National Endowment for Democracy
Toby C. Jones, Rutgers University
*Individual signatures reflect the personal views of that signatory; their institutional affiliations are listed for the purpose of identification only.