The US has expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s human rights records, saying the recent mass execution of political and religious leaders shows that the Kingdom is not doing enough to address the international community’s legitimate concerns. “Carrying out mass executions I think is a prime example of a government that is not doing enough to address the legitimate concerns that have been expressed by the international community about the human rights situation inside their own country,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.
The US has raised significant concerns about the human rights environment in Saudi Arabia, he said. “The State Department put out a report detailing the long list of concerns that the US has with Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, and certainly mass executions would rate highly in that list of concerns and we certainly would condemn,” he said.
Observing that there is no denying the US has a much stronger and more effective relationship with Saudi Arabia than with Iran, Earnest said but there’s also no denying that Saudi Arabia’s human rights record is something that has been the source of significant concern on the part of the Obama administration and previous administrations as well.
“Those are concerns that have been relayed directly by President (Barack) Obama to the two Saudi Arabian leaders – the two Saudi leaders that he has dealt with in his tenure as President, but these are also concerns that have been relayed to Saudi Arabia through a variety of channels,” he noted.
“I would say that our concerns about Saudi Arabia’s actions in this regard are related both to concerns that we have about the impact that these actions have on Saudi Arabia’s national security but we also have concerns about the impact that this has on US interests in the region,” he said.
Kirby said the US has been very clear about its concerns about the legal process in Saudi Arabia. “It’s something that we have talked to Saudi officials about before. We will continue to do so. We continue to call on the Government of Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights and to permit the peaceful expression of dissent and to work together with all community leaders to defuse tensions.
“What we want to see is for Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights and to ensure a fair and transparent judicial process,” Kirby added.