FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ariel Gold | CODEPINK national co-director | 510-599-5330 | [email protected]
Danaka Katovich | CODEPINK Yemen campaign manager |925-336-6221 | [email protected]
September 30, 2020 — CODEPINK celebrates Mayor Sadiq Khan’s announcement today that he will be skipping the 2020 G20 Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia. Mayor Khan had been invited to participate in the U20 part of the summit for mayors of major world cities. Mayor Khan’s announcement follows announcements last week, first by Mayor de Blasio of New York City and then by Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles, that they would not be attending the summit because of Saudi human rights abuses.
On Tuesday, September 29, CODEPINK sent an email to thousands of supporters in London asking them to email Khan urging him not to participate in the summit. CODEPINK activists had also sent thousands of emails to Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti in advance of their announcements that they would be boycotting the summit.
“It’s been around two thousand days since MBS started ordering airstrikes on Yemen. Mayor Kahn needs to send a message that he does not endorse or shake hands — even virtually — with brutal murderous dictators,” said CODEPINK Yemen campaign manager Danaka Katovich in the email to London supporters. “Yemen has endured over five years of air raids and blockade. As the suffering of Yemenis continues at the hands of MBS, no mayor should agree to participate in the summit.”
On September 20, a letter was also sent to Khan from a group of peace organizations representing millions of people from around the world. The signers of the letter included CODEPINK, FreedomForward, ActionCorps, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Just Foreign Policy, and eleven other organizations.
Responding to the concerns of our organizations and members, a spokesperson for Khan said the mayor will be skipping the summit “to avoid any implication that this observer status means support for the Saudi government … [Khan] will not dial in to view any of the U20 summit sessions this year.”
“Since March 2018, Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been languishing in prison for her activism calling on Saudi Arabia to grant women the right to drive,” explained CODEPINK co-director, Ariel Gold. “No mayors in good conscience should agree to attend the U20 Summit until Loujain and the other imprisoned Saudi human rights defenders are freed and the bombing and blockading of Yemen ceases. I hope that the mayors of Chicago, Houston, and more will quickly follow Khan, de Blasio, and Garcetti in rejecting the invitation.”
CODEPINK activists around the world applaud Mayor Khan for standing up for human rights and hope others will join him.
Danaka Katovich and Ariel Gold are available for interviews.