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Rights groups express 'deep concerns' over Biden meeting with Saudi crown price

More than a dozen human rights groups voiced “deep concerns” over President Biden’s upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia and meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a letter on Thursday.

“Efforts to repair the U.S. relationship with the government of Saudi Arabia without a genuine commitment to prioritize human rights are not only a betrayal of your campaign promises, but will likely embolden the crown prince to commit further violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” the letter read. 

The letter was signed by groups including Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and Project on Middle East Democracy, among others. 

Biden’s planned meeting this summer comes as the U.S. is looking to offset rising gas prices after cutting off oil imports from Russia over the war in Ukraine.

But the groups asked that Biden take tangible action including the immediate release of all political prisoners in the country, lifting arbitrary travel bans on “human rights defenders and others,” ending unlawful surveillance, ending male guardianship, establishing moratorium on executions and committing to maintaining the ceasefire in Yemen.

Their demands came after the human rights groups alleged that the “crown prince’s government continues to arbitrarily imprison, torture, and execute numerous individuals in violation of the internationally protected rights to a fair trial and due process.” 

They also cited an increase in mass executions and other human rights violations.

But the groups highlighted “multiple meetings between senior Saudi and U.S. officials” over the past several weeks. 

On Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also criticized the planned meeting, saying the crown price “should be shunned” for his role in the 2018 killing of a Washington Post journalist and his other human rights violations.

“I wouldn’t shake his hand,” Schiff said. “This is someone who butchered an American resident, cut them up into pieces in the most terrible, premeditated way. Until Saudi Arabia makes a radical change in terms of human rights, I wouldn’t want anything to do with them.”


Source: The Hill

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