Saudi Arabia: U.S. Should Urge Political Reforms
As Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia prepares to visit the United States, beginning March 19, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Saudi citizens, especially women, continue to lack basic political rights and civil liberties despite Prince Mohammad’s pledge to usher in social reforms and also attract greater foreign investment for reshaping the kingdom’s economy,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa programs. “If the crown prince is to succeed in modernizing his county, his efforts will require meaningful participation by Saudi citizens, including the introduction of political representation, independent associations, and transparent and accountable decision-making. The United States should press the kingdom to advance political and legal reforms — including freedom of expression, and an end to the male guardianship system — to ensure the country’s future stability.”
Saudi Arabia has consistently been categorized among Freedom in the World’s “Worst of the Worst” countries on political rights and civil liberties. In 2018, its score declined from 10/100 in 2017 to 7/100 due to the government’s crackdown on dissent and violent incursion into a minority Shi’a populated city in the Eastern province.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.