Text: S.Res.73 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (02/14/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[S. Res. 73 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
S. RES. 73

  Calling on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately release Saudi 
  Women's Rights activists and respect the fundamental rights of all 
                            Saudi citizens.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           February 14, 2019

 Mr. Rubio (for himself, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Moran, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Sasse, 
Mr. Kaine, Ms. Collins, Mr. Coons, Mr. Booker, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Murphy, 
Mrs. Shaheen, and Mr. Markey) submitted the following resolution; which 
           was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
  Calling on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately release Saudi 
  Women's Rights activists and respect the fundamental rights of all 
                            Saudi citizens.

Whereas the United States Government and the Government of Saudi Arabia share an 
        important security partnership;
Whereas Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said during an April 2018 
        interview with The Atlantic magazine, ``I support women . . . In our 
        religion there is no difference between men and women . . . We don't 
        want divided treatment for different people'';
Whereas Saudi authorities, since Mohammed bin Salman became Crown Prince, have 
        relaxed some repressive restrictions on women, including by allowing 
        women to drive, attend certain sporting events, and enter some 
        professions which were previously closed to them;
Whereas, in May 2018, Saudi authorities began arresting women's rights activists 
        and their supporters, including those who had campaigned for the right 
        to drive ahead of the government's announcement granting women the right 
        to drive effective June 24, 2018;
Whereas those detained included--

    (1) Samar Badawi, who petitioned Saudi authorities to allow women the 
right to drive, vote, and run in municipal elections;

    (2) Nouf Abdelaziz, who expressed solidarity with arrested women's 
rights activists;

    (3) Mayaa al-Zahrani, an activist and friend of Abdelaziz;

    (4) Nassima al-Sadah, who campaigned for the right to drive and against 
the government's male guardianship laws;

    (5) Hatoon al-Fassi, a professor of women's history who was one of the 
first Saudi women to acquire a driver's license; and

    (6) Loujain al-Hathloul who spent 73 days in detention for defying the 
driving ban in 2014-15;

Whereas one of the detained women, Aziza al-Youssef, is a United States 
        permanent resident who maintains a residence in Virginia;
Whereas Saudi authorities, on June 2, 2018, announced that they would 
        provisionally release eight individuals and refer nine individuals to 
        trial, where they could face the following serious charges that carry 
        penalties of up to 20 years in prison ``cooperating with entities 
        hostile to the kingdom,'' ``recruiting persons in a sensitive government 
        agency to obtain confidential information to harm the interests of the 
        kingdom,'' and ``providing financial and moral support to hostile 
        elements abroad'';
Whereas, in 2012, Samar Badawi, one of the activists detained by the Saudi 
        authorities, received the International Women of Courage Award from the 
        United States Department of State;
Whereas Samar Badawi's brother, Raif Badawi, has remained imprisoned in Saudi 
        Arabia since 2012 and was publically flogged for his work calling for 
        free speech on his website ``Free Saudi Liberals'' and his lawyer, 
        Waleed Abu al-Khair, is serving a 15-year sentence for his work 
        defending human rights;
Whereas, according to a 2018 Human Rights Watch report, ``Saudi interrogators 
        tortured at least three of the Saudi women activists detained beginning 
        in May 2018'';
Whereas the reports of torture include electric shocks, whippings, beatings, and 
        sexual harassment and assault;
Whereas, according to news reports, a top adviser of Crown Prince Mohammed bin 
        Salman, Saud al-Qahtani, has been present during interrogation sessions 
        with the women's rights activists;
Whereas, on January 16, 2019, more than 200 academics from around the world sent 
        a letter to the Saudi King calling on the Government of Saudi Arabia to 
        release ``Dr Hatoon Aiwad-al-Fassi and other women's rights advocates 
        who remain in detention'';
Whereas the United States Senate resolved on International Women's Day on March 
        8, 2018, that the empowerment of women is inextricably linked to the 
        potential of a country to generate economic growth, sustainable 
        democracy, and inclusive security;
Whereas the Department of State's 2017 report on human rights practices in Saudi 
        Arabia stated that the Government of Saudi Arabia's review of 
        guardianship laws had not yet been completed, that the Government of 
        Saudi Arabia restricts the foreign travel of women, and that the 
        Government of Saudi Arabia continues to discriminate against women;
Whereas the arrests of women's rights activists and their supporters since May 
        2018 are contrary to the Government of Saudi Arabia's stated reform 
        goals; and
Whereas the detention and reported abuse of women's rights activists and the 
        murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and United 
        States resident, demonstrate a blatant disregard for human rights and 
        the freedom of expression: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the Senate--
            (1) calls on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately 
        release and drop any politically motivated charges against the 
        detained Saudi women's rights activists related to peaceful 
        activities to advance human rights in Saudi Arabia, which are 
        protected under international law;
            (2) expresses concern over the reported use of torture by 
        the Government of Saudi Arabia against the women's activists, 
        and urges investigation into such allegations and the holding 
        accountable of perpetrators;
            (3) recognizes that the strategic relationship with Saudi 
        Arabia is in the national interest of the United States;
            (4) reaffirms that the global recognition and protection of 
        basic human rights, including women's rights, is in the 
        national security interest of the United States;
            (5) urges the Government of Saudi Arabia to reform its laws 
        that restrict basic human rights, including women's rights, 
        such as by abolishing the male guardianship system;
            (6) urges the President and the Secretary of State to 
        affirm the support of the United States for the right of 
        activists to peacefully advocate for the protection of 
        universal human rights;
            (7) calls on the President to press the Government of Saudi 
        Arabia to immediately release all political prisoners, human 
        rights defenders, journalists, and bloggers, including Raif 
        Badawi, Waleed Abu al-Khair, and others who support religious 
        freedom, and the women's rights activists detained after May 
        2018; and
            (8) calls on the President to comply with the request 
        submitted under subsection (d) of section 1263 of the Global 
        Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (subtitle F of title 
        XII of Public Law 114-328; 22 U.S.C. 2656 note) for a 
        determination under subsection (a) of that section with respect 
        to the persons responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist 
        Jamal Khashoggi.
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