President Obama urged to discuss Rights issues with the Saudi King
Posted : Sep 19th 2015 1:44pm by The Oslo Times
News Serial Number : TOT28
Sept 3, Washington: Human Rights organizations have urged President Barack Obama to focus on Human Rights issues during his talks with the Saudi king Salman on Friday.
“If the United States is serious about confronting violent extremism, U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia should give priority to calling for greater tolerance for political pluralism and independent civil society in that country,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “President Obama should press King Salman to release imprisoned human rights activists, including Waleed Abu al-Khair, Mohammed al-Qahtani, and Raif Badawi, and support the passage of the Law of Association that allows civil society to operate freely.”
According to Freedom House, the Human Rights organizations through their joint letter have urged President Obama, to focus on rights issues. “We have watched with alarm as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to severely restrict basic civil and political rights. We remain deeply concerned with many of the government’s policies that, if maintained, will erode the internal stability of Saudi Arabia and its neighbors," he said.
“Your administration has highlighted the key role that independent civil society plays in advancing human rights and delegitimizing violent extremism. However, bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia have not adequately incorporated this as a policy priority. The U.S.-Saudi alliance must not only address the shared challenges of today, but anticipate and prevent the regional crises of tomorrow. Peaceful civil society organizations in Saudi Arabia must be able to operate freely, as U.S. foreign policy cannot succeed unless civil society succeeds.” Freedom house further stated that, the Saudi government has closed a number of human rights organizations and sentenced human rights defenders to lengthy prison terms. "Nine of the eleven co-founders of the Saudi Arabian Civil and Political Rights Association have been impriTimessoned, while the remaining two have been charged and could face more than a decade in prison if convicted. Saudi courts used the country’s anti-terrorism law to sentence Waleed Abu al-Khair, the founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, to 15 years imprisonment", Lagon added.
The Oslo Times
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