Letter Urges President Obama to Press Saudi King for Civil Society Protections

3 September 2015 – Today, eight U.S. and internationally-based NGOs, in partnership with seven foreign policy experts and human rights advocates, sent a letter to President Obama that urges him to press Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for greater civil society protections within the kingdom. Tomorrow, King Salman will meet President Obama at the White House to commence his first official U.S. visit as head of state.

President Obama has repeatedly highlighted the importance of a robust civil society in countering violent extremism and ensuring domestic stability. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, however, has worked to close independent civic organizations in the country, arresting activists and preventing human rights groups from operating legally. To ensure the future stability of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors, the letter’s signatories request that the president press King Salman to release imprisoned activists and decree a law of association that guarantees the independent operation of civil society groups.

A PDF of the full letter can be read here.

اضغط هنا لقراءة الرسالة بالعربية



Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy


Freedom House

Human Rights Foundation

Kuwait Watch

Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)


Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America Foundation

Brian Dooley, Human Rights First

Celine Assaf, Human Rights Foundation

David Andrew Weinberg, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute

Rahman Aljebouri, National Endowment for Democracy

Toby C. Jones, Rutgers University

*Individual signatures reflect the personal views of that signatory; their institutional affiliations are listed for the purpose of identification only.

For additional information, please contact Kate Kizer at kkizer@adhrb.org or (202)621-6141, ext. 103.