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.
Text of Letter:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.