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Opinion: How Biden can strike a blow against Saudi Arabia's human rights violations

February 23, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 14.5%. 1 min read.

The Saudi Arabian government's imposition of a travel ban on recently-released women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul is another example of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's increasing use of this oppressive measure to extinguish any semblance of dissent, write Michael Eisner and Abdullah Alaoudh.

Travel bans are not new in Saudi Arabia.

Nineteen members of the family of Saudi Muslim scholar and political prisoner Salman Al-Awda have been banned from travel outside Saudi Arabia, including six great-grandchildren, the youngest just a 1-year-old.

Saudi domestic law requires all bans to have "a specific period of time," and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to which Saudi Arabia is a party, forbids governments from "arbitrarily or illegally" depriving citizens of their right to leave the country.

The Saudi government's travel bans flout all of these domestic and international legal requirements, depriving citizens of the right to leave the country.

The Biden administration has already put a temporary freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia; it should use this pause to implement targeted sanctions that would raise the costs of the travel ban to the Saudi government.

Such a tailored sanction would raise the cost of the travel ban for the Saudis and might just convince MBS to back off and allow Saudis who want to leave to do so.

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