A recently featured FRONTLINE story on human rights, especially for women, in Saudi Arabia had led me to take an additional look. I knew, in the back of my mind, that things were bad. However, I’ve since realized through further thought and research that Saudi Arabia is the South Africa of the Middle East. We need to mount the same type of campaign against them that changed apartheid in South Africa. I’ve included a few links:
Last year, Human Rights Watch noted that a number of Saudi human rights activists were given lengthy prison terms on vague charges such as “setting up an unlicensed organization” and “disobeying the ruler.” In fact, only China, Iran and Iraq executed more people than Saudi Arabia in 2013.
Freedom House, an American nongovernmental organization that tracks human rights, currently rates Saudi Arabia as “not free” and gives it the lowest possible score in its rankings. It was one of only 10 countries in the entire world to receive that score: North Korea, Syria and Sudan are three of the others.
For many, the double standards here are jarring. “On the one hand, the Obama administration condemns the beheadings, torture and crackdowns conducted by the armed group Islamic State,” Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, said. “On the other hand, the White House is relatively quiet when Saudi Arabian authorities engage in some of the exact same human rights abuses.”