On Monday, July 11 at 2:30 PM ET, dissidents from the Middle East and Members of Congress will join the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), Human Rights Watch, PEN America, the Freedom Initiative, Freedom House, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Win Without War, and Human Rights First for a briefing for media ahead of President Joe Biden’s July 15-16 visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with the leaders of the GCC+3.

President Biden promised to center human rights in his administration, including by pledging to make Saudi Arabia “the pariah that they are” and indicating that Saudi officials “have to be held accountable” for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. During this trip, President Biden will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

In advance of Biden’s trip, prominent human rights defenders with unjustly detained family members will urge President Biden to raise their families’ cases when he meets with the GCC +3 leaders and they will outline some of the most pressing human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt.



  • Lina al-Hathloul
    Saudi human rights defender and sister of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul (who is under a travel ban in Saudi Arabia)
  • Maryam al-Khawaja
    Bahraini human rights defender, former co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and daughter of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja (who was sentenced to life in prison in Bahrain for his pro-democracy work)
  • Sanaa Seif
    Egyptian activist and filmmaker, sister of writer Alaa Abd el-Fattah (who is imprisoned in Egypt and has been on hunger strike for 100 days)
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)
    Co-chair of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission


Hosted by:

Committee to Protect Journalists  •  Freedom House
The Freedom Initiative  •  Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch  •  PEN America
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)  •  Win Without War