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.

Testimony: Syria After 5 Years

Testimony:  Syria After 5 Years


This morning I spoke at a Syria briefing in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Organized by Crisis Action, the briefing focused on the 5 year anniversary of the start of the armed conflict in Syria.

Syria: Hope after 5 Years – Justice, Humanitarian Aid and looking to Syria’s Future
Friday March 18, 10:00am-12:00pm



Briefing Description:

Continue reading

Qatar, FIFA, and Labor Exploitation – My Senate Testimony

“… in the most extreme examples, foreign migrant workers have become suicidal after being trapped without pay by employers in Qatar. They have been forced to depend on charity from others simply to eat. Meanwhile, their family members in poor communities in their countries of origin can face eviction and other serious challenges…”

US Senate Testimony on Qatar Labor Exploitation by Sunjeev Bery
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security

Hearing - 2015-07-15 - Qatar FIFA - Senate - Sunjeev Bery

“Examining the Governance and Integrity of International Soccer”
July 15, 2015
Verbal Remarks (PDF) / Written Testimony (PDF)Hearing Page / CSPAN Video

Media:  New York Times (1, 2), GuardianUSA TodayReutersBloombergVice NewsMcClatchy DC, Roll Call

Full Text of Verbal Remarks:

“Chairman Moran, Ranking Member Blumenthal, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, and distinguished guests: On behalf of Amnesty International, thank you for the opportunity to address the issue of human rights in Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has brought into global focus the shocking conditions that are routine for migrant workers in Qatar.

Under Qatar’s Kafala employment sponsorship system, foreign migrant workers cannot change employers or leave Qatar without the permission of their current employer. Even if an employer is not paying the employee, the employer can still block the employee from changing jobs or leaving the country.

In 2012, the Qatar National Research Fund funded a survey of some 1,000 low-income labor migrants: Continue reading

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)


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:

Continue reading