PEN America to Host G20 Counter-Summit Highlighting Saudi Human Rights Abuses
November 20 gathering meant to push back against wave of Saudi propaganda designed to whitewash Kingdom’s abysmal human rights record
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Washington, DC) — As the G20 gets underway in Saudi Arabia, the free expression organization PEN America will host “G20 Counter-Summit: Reckoning With ‘Opportunities for All’ in Saudi Arabia” on November 20 at 11:00 am ET. Intended to push back against the Kingdom’s attempts to obfuscate its human rights violations in recent years, the summit brings together human rights experts, as well as activists, members of Congressm, and relatives of those killed, imprisoned, or tortured by the Saudi government.
The summit is presented in partnership with ALQST, Amnesty International USA, Democracy for the Arab World Now, Freedom Forward, The Freedom Initiative, Human Rights Watch, Open Society Foundations, and the Project on Middle East Democracy.
“This summit is meant to send a clear message to Saudi Arabia: Attempts to paper over your atrocious record of human rights abuses just won’t cut it,” said Summer Lopez, senior director of free expression programs at PEN America. “From the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi to the unjust detention and alleged torture of women’s rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul and countless others, our counter-summit is meant to ensure that the dismal rights record of the Kingdom is laid out in full view. We’re grateful to have such a stellar array of human rights leaders, activists, and courageous family members of those attacked by the Saudi regime to join in this effort to honor and uplift the voices of those Saudi Arabia has tried to silence.”
WHAT: G20 Counter-Summit: Reckoning With Opportunities for All in Saudi Arabia
WHEN: November 20 at 11:00 am ET – 1:30 pm ET
WHERE: Virtual (registration now open)
WHO: Abdullah Alaoudh; Safa Al-Ahmad; Saudi women’s rights activist Hala Al-Dosari; Lina Al-Hathloul, sister of imprisoned activist; Areej Al-Sadhan, sister of imprisoned activist; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD); Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA); Human Rights Watch’s Adam Coogle; Karin Deutsch Karlekar; Michelle Dunne; Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL); Member of Parliament Kenny MacAskill (UK); Thomas O. Melia; Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ); Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Suzanne Nossel; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the EU Delegation of Relations with the Arab Peninsula Marc Tarabella (Belgium); Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA); Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR); Member of the European Parliament Ernest Urtasun (Spain); and additional speakers to be announced.
Saudi Arabia is hosting this year’s G20 summit and has waged a campaign to gloss over its serious human rights violations and unjust imprisonment of writers, activists, and other dissidents. PEN America found that Saudi Arabia was among the worst jailers of writers and public intellectuals in 2019 in its Freedom to Write Index. Since coming to power, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Mohammad Bin Salman has presided over a brutal crackdown on all forms of dissent, with attacks on religious minorities and a renewed wave of arrests targeting activists, writers, journalists, and intellectuals.
The summit is accompanied by a digital campaign highlighting the activist voices the Kingdom has attempted to silence, as well as bringing attention to the range of actions advocates and others can take to promote accountability and support human rights in Saudi Arabia.
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Fee, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892