Will President Obama put human rights on the agenda during Saudi Arabia summit?

Amnesty International is calling on President Obama to make human rights a core part of his agenda this week in Saudi Arabia.

Obama-Salman-SaudiPresident Obama is meeting this week with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, along with the heads of state from the Gulf Cooperation Council:  Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, and Qatar.

Read our letter and press release.

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?

Sexual Violence: Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia.

What can be done to stop sexual violence against women in ‪Iraq‬ and ‪‎Syria‬?

This morning, I had the privilege of joining experts on a panel hosted by the American Red Cross, Physicians for Human Rights, and other key groups.

We focused on Iraq and Syria, and I also got into issues affecting women in ‪Saudi Arabia‬, ‪Qatar‬, and ‪North Africa‬.

Panel - 2014-11-06 - Sexual violence - Iraq and Syria - American Red Cross

Repressive U.S. allies in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the battle against “Islamic State”

On Thursday, I spoke with CCTV America about Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other repressive governments reported to be supporting U.S. actions against the armed group calling itself “Islamic State.”

Click to watch.

Interview - CCTV - 2014-09-25 - US allies and ISIS

Quoted: Bloomberg | “Obama Seeks to Reassure Saudi King on Iran Talks, Syria”

“The president’s silence demonstrates once again that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. holds repressive allies to a much lower standard than adversaries,” said Sunjeev Bery, Amnest International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Bloomberg: Obama Seeks to Reassure Saudi King on Iran Talks, Syria

By Julianna Goldman and Mike Dorning | March 29, 2014

 

Quoted: Washington Examiner | “Obama refuses to raise human rights issues with Saudis”

Washington Examiner: Obama refuses to raise human rights issues with Saudis

By Joel Gehrke | March 31, 2014

 

“…It wasn’t just Republicans angry with Obama. Amnesty International accused him of showing hypocrisy on human rights issues.

“The president’s silence demonstrates once again that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. holds repressive allies to a much lower standard than adversaries,” Amnesty International’s Sunjeev Bery said. “On Saturday, Saudi Arabian women activists will defy the government’s ban on women driving. It is the only such ban in the world. Through Amnesty International’s campaign, thousands of people in the U.S. have shown their solidarity with these brave women. Unfortunately, White House officials, including the president, will not be among them.”

Quoted: ABC News Radio | “Amnesty Int’l Challenges Obama to Bring Female Driver to Saudi Arabia”

ABC News Radio:  Amnesty Int’l Challenges Obama to Bring Female Driver to Saudi Arabia

By Carmen Cox

March 27, 2014

…Amnesty International also weighed in, urging the president to bring along a female Secret Service agent as his driver while in the Kingdom.

“President Obama should show his support by bringing a female Secret Service driver with him to the country,” said Sunjeev Bery, the group’s Middle East North Africa advocacy director….