Dear Secretary Clinton:
I am writing to you today as a concerned citizen of the United States of America about a serious foreign policy topic, womens' rights in Saudi Arabia. I heard a report today, May 4, 2011, on National Public Radio about a group of Saudi women who went to register for an upcoming election, even though the government had announced that women could not vote in this election. They went as a protest against this policy, even though they know what kinds of punishments they could get from the government for this action.
Secretary Clinton, how can we let one of our allies treat women this way? We know, especially now in the midst of tremendous change in the Arab countries, that people in those countries clearly recognize the role of the United States in supporting governments that have or now oppress them. And, although women in Saudi Arabia have some measure of "freedom," such as the right to be employed, they are oppressed in many ways. One example was given in the NPR report today. It told of women who were arrested by the Religious Police for driving automobiles. These women were mistreated while being held, and then flyers were distributed about them saying, among other things, that they are whores. They were subsequently shunned by family members, neighbors and co-workers.
It is no longer acceptable (and really never was) for the United States to turn a blind eye to these kinds of human rights abuses. We are either on the bus or off the bus when it comes to democratization of Arab countries, even those with which we have close economic and security arrangements.
Mrs. Clinton, please work on this issue. Please have serious discussions with the Saudi leaders about how this must end. And please make a public policy statement that the United States supports the rights of all people, including and especially women and girls, in Saudi Arabia and all other countries who count the United States as a friend and ally.
Thank you, Madame Secretary, for taking action on this important topic.
Portland, Oregon USA
President Barak Obama
- posted from the fisheyepad