Politicians from the European Union and United States have called for a boycott of the Saudi-hosted G20 meeting citing human rights concerns. The G20 is set to be hosted remotely by Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler, crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), in November.
Some 65 MEPs signed a letter to European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel, which argues that “our participation in the upcoming G20 in Saudi Arabia would not only compromise our values, but also contradict the very resolutions passed in our parliament”.
Among their concerns, MEPs noted the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security forces in 2018, and the country’s ongoing war in Yemen, which had cost tens of thousands of civilians’ lives.
The MEPs write: “Despite the authorities still portraying the country as striving for reform, invoking its economic Vision 2030 and prestigious projects such as the Neom megacity scheme, the Saudi authorities continue to violate a variety of the most basic human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and the right to liberty and security of person, as well as the right to freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to life, not to mention Saudi Arabia’s ongoing involvement in the conflict in Yemen.”
Following this, 45 members of the US Congress urged President Donald Trump to boycott the G20 unless Saudi Arabia took steps to address key human rights concerns.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, members of congress called on the Saudi regime to release jailed activists, withdraw from its war on Yemen and be accountable for its murder of Saudi dissident and journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018.
“Should the Saudi government fail to take immediate steps to address this record, we should withdraw from the Saudi-led G20 summit and commit to making human rights reforms a condition of all future dealings with Saudi Arabia’s government,” said the letter.
Jan Schakowsky and Ilhan Omar, Democratic members of the US House of Representatives, were among the 45 lawmakers who signed the letter, which was supported by advocacy group Freedom Forward.