Washington Week on Human Rights: August 31, 2015

Top News

Saudi Arabia This Friday King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia will make his first visit to the White House since ascending the throne. President Obama and King Salman are expected to discuss ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship. Human Rights First is urging President Obama to raise troubling elements of Saudi policy that are harmful to U.S. interests and contribute to regional instability. These include: Saudi support for a region-wide pushback against popular demands for more representative governments, including support for repression in Egypt and Bahrain that fuels the grievances exploited by violent extremists; promotion of extremist ideologies that fuel sectarian violence throughout the region in official textbooks, media outlets, and in the teachings of state-supported extremist preachers; and the kingdom’s own dismal human rights record, which endangers its future stability as it confronts inevitable social and economic challenges. Human Rights First issued a report on Saudi Arabia that documents human rights abuses and makes recommendations for the U.S. government.

Bahrain On Friday another policeman was killed in Bahrain during a violent incident decried by Human Right First and others seeking a peaceful path toward democracy for the kingdom. Friday’s attack brings the number of Bahraini policemen killed in recent weeks to three. Human Rights First has called for an end to violence and urges the kingdom to immediately abandon its repressive policies, including the jailing of peaceful dissident leaders.

Quote of the Week

“The societal harms and impacts posed by human trafficking are very real. Corruption helps to fuel it and enriches not only those criminal networks behind today’s modern slavery but also enables corrupt police, customs, judicial, and other security officials who protect traffickers and allow them to carry out their criminal activities.

Human trafficking siphons away the human capital potential of communities to build sustainable economic growth in a manner that respects human rights.

No person should ever have a price tag attached to their heart and soul nor be restricted, abused, and violated against their physical integrity and free will.”

—David Luna, Senior Director for National Security and Diplomacy Anti-Crime Programs for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, during August 26 remarks in Cebu, Philippines

We’re Reading

In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, Human Rights First’s Elisa Massimino reflected on President Carter’s legacy in making human rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.

CNN reported on this week’s planned visit by the Saudi president to the White House to discuss military cooperation and strengthening the bilateral relationship.

NPR and The Associated Press reported on Texas’s scheduled execution of Bernardo Tercero, highlighting the lack of due process he received during his trial proceedings.

As reported by Reuters and the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay in execution to Bernardo Tercero on Tuesday, allowing more time to investigate legal claims that he was not afforded a fair trial.

We’re Listening

NPR’s Audi Cornish interviewed Peter Sutherland, special representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, to examine the migration crisis happening across Europe and the importance of protecting refugees.

Around Town

Thursday, September 3, 2015

American University will host a discussion on foreign affairs and defense issues. The program will feature Former Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michelle Flournoy, co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security. 2:30 PM, American University, 3400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, School of International Service, Abramson Family Founders Room, Washington, D.C.


Published on August 31, 2015


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