- Melanne VerveerAmbassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
- Andrew SteinfeldDirector, Department of State, Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs
US Needs to Break Public Silence on Lack of Rights for Women in Saudi Arabia
While the United States is aware of the lack of rights for women in Saudi Arabia, they continue to lend political and economic support to the regime. In solidarity with the Saudi Women for Driving, we are asking for Secretary of Defense Hillary Clinton and other United States officials to begin placing public pressure on Saudi Arabia to change its policies towards women.
- Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
- Director, Department of State, Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs
- Former Secretary of State
We are writing you in solidarity with the Saudi Women For Driving to ask that you use this opportunity to speak in favor of women driving in Saudi Arabia as part of a wider campaign for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
Not only are we concerned with the Saudi government’s treatment of women, but also with the support and allegiance that the United Stated continues to give the government of Saudi Arabia. A supposed model and advocate for democracy and human rights, the Untied States has done very little publicly to encourage the increased freedoms of women in Saudi Arabia. While the State Department has identified the various human rights violations being committed by the regime, including the violations of women's rights, the United States continues to ally itself with a corrupt, oppressive government.
Not only are Saudi women deprived the right to drive, they are also denied the right to vote or run for office. More troubling is the practice of male guardianship, in which the women of Saudi Arabia are treated as constant minors. A woman's ability to go to school, work, or even to receive medical care must be approved by a male guardian and can be revoked at any moment without explanation. Women are not allowed to leave the house unaccompanied, and must receive written permission in order to travel outside of the country. This position as second-class citizens makes women in Saudi Arabia extremely vulnerable and they are often subject to sexual abuse from their male guardians. In a country where women have few rights, there is virtually no legal recourse for sexual abuse and Men are rarely punished for their crimes against women.
Secretary Clinton, we are asking you to speak in favor of Saudi women's rights and to put more public pressure on Saudi Arabia to change its policies towards women.
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