Quoted: “Qatar leans on K Street connections” in The Hill (Washington DC)

“No amount of PR or lobbying can obscure the underlying realities of labor abuse and exploitation in Qatar. The government of Qatar should invest its resources in fixing these problems, not in trying to hide them from other governments,” said Sunjeev Bery, the advocacy director for Middle East North Africa at Amnesty International USA.

(From Qatar leans on K Street connectionsBy Megan R. Wilson, The Hill, 06/09/15)

Qatar leans on K Street connections

45 Members of Congress Urge President Obama to Stand Up for Human Rights in Gulf Monarchies

45 Members of Congress just sent the following letter to President Obama today.  The letter urges him to stand up for human rights in his meetings this week with leaders from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait.   These countries make up the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Amnesty International USA and a diverse range of organizations worked to build support for the effort.

Letter in PDF:

Letter to President Obama

Text of Letter:

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Destroying Boats is Not the Answer for Libya’s Refugees and Migrants

Today I spoke with Meghna Chakrabarti of NPR and WBUR’s “Here and Now” on why European proposals to destroy boats won’t help refugees and migrants who are escaping ‪#‎Libya‬:

Listen:  http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/11/military-crackdown-migrant-traffickers

Tweet-graphic-2015-05-11-NPR-Story-Libya-boats

Will a US citizen get a life sentence tomorrow in Egypt?

U.S. citizen Mohamed Soltan is wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt and on hunger strike.  Mr. Soltan is at risk of receiving life imprisonment tomorrow on trumped up charges and for so-called “crimes” that are not recognized under international standards and human rights law.

Mohamed Soltan

Will the Obama Administration do more than just privately push for his release?  There is no indication that Egyptian officials are going to resolve his case in a positive manner without increased public pressure.

Read our Amnesty International letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.

Mr. Soltan is a dual US-Egypt national who was arrested in August 2013 as part of a sweeping crackdown on supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi.  During his wrongful imprisonment, he had to undergo a medical procedure by a cellmate without anesthesia or sterilization to remove the supporting metal pins from his arm.  Prison authorities had refused to have him transferred to a hospital to receive proper medical care.

9 Questions for the U.S. Government on the Middle East:

Saudi Arabia:  U.S. intelligence cooperation

Is the U.S. providing intelligence to the Government of Saudi Arabia that can be used by Saudi Arabian authorities to violate the human rights of peaceful reformers and critics?

Saudi Arabia:  Prisoners of Conscience

What steps is the U.S. government taking to secure the release of prisoners of conscience like Raif Badawi from Saudi Arabia’s prisons?

Israel:  

What steps is the U.S. taking to prevent the Government of Israel from using U.S. arms to commit human rights violations against Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation?

Syria: Refugee resettlement

There are now 4 million Syrian refugees.  Over the last four years, the U.S. has only resettled a few hundred Syrian refugees.  How many Syrian refugees does the U.S. expect to permanently resettle in the U.S. in 2015?

Syria/Iraq:  U.S. military assistance

How will the U.S. prevent U.S. military assistance in Iraq and Syria from facilitating more war crimes and human rights abuses?
What steps is the U.S. taking to protect Sunni communities from abuses by Shi’a militias affiliated with the Iraqi government?

Syria/Iraq:  U.S. air strikes

Is the U.S. investigate reports of civilian casualties from U.S. air strikes in Syria and Iraq?

Will the U.S. publish the results of these investigations, hold accountable those responsible for civilian casualties, and provide reparations to families and survivors?

Bahrain:  U.S. arms sales

In 2012, the U.S. State Department announced that it would not allow the sale of arms to Bahrain “typically used by police and other security forces for internal security” or “crowd control.”  Has the U.S. resumed the sale of arms to Bahrain in this category?

Is the U.S. currently providing arms to Bahraini security forces that can be used against peaceful protestors and critics of the government?

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