US senators Wednesday drafted a bipartisan resolution that could lead to a major reassessment of US security assistance to Saudi Arabia.
The resolution was penned by US Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who also drafted a summary of the resolution for public release. The resolution would require the Secretary of State to transmit a statement regarding Saudi Arabia’s human rights practices containing “all available information concerning alleged violations of internationally recognized human rights by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Those violations include torture, execution contrary to international law, discrimination against women, restrictions on religious freedom and violence against Yemeni people.
The statement would also detail the steps that the US government has taken to “promote respect for an observance of human rights” in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the Secretary of State would have to submit assessments regarding the likelihood that US security assistance is being used in the armed conflict in Yemen. The assessment would require a determination of whether “extraordinary circumstances exist that necessitate a continuation of security assistance” for Saudi Arabia.
22 USC 2304(c) empowers members of Congress to request such information to continue security assistance. According to Murphy, if the resolution passes in the Senate, the administration must submit the report within 30 days or “all security assistance to Saudi Arabia is cut off.”