Don’t Sportswash Saudi Crimes!

We are calling on Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Carlota Ciganda, and Anne Van Dam to not compete in the Ladies European Tournament happening in Saudi Arabia. Saudi leadership is trying to sportswash their human rights violations and the competitors in this tournament need to stand for what is right.

We, the undersigned, ask that you refuse to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International and the Saudi Ladies Team International tournaments taking place in November. The government of Saudi Arabia has committed egregious human rights violations both against Yemen and its own people. Yemen, just 500 miles south of where you will be competing, is experiencing unimaginable suffering at the hands of Saudi leadership. Meanwhile, just a few miles from the lush golf course where you will be competing, Saudi women are languishing in prison, all for the “crime” of peacefully advocating for their human rights.

The winners of these tournaments will be taking home large cash prizes from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. The PIF is chaired and controlled by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). MBS is directly responsible for the suffering in Yemen, and we would like to outline the harm he has caused in his neighboring country.

Saudi Arabia began its assault of Yemen in 2015. The Yemeni people are resilient, and we believe that they have the right to determine the fate of their own country without Saudi Arabia getting involved. MBS has bombed hospitals, funerals, and schools. The Saudi military targeted a school bus full of children in Yemen, killing 40 young students. Because of MBS’s crimes, Yemeni civilians cannot go to school in peace, get medical treatment in peace, or even mourn the losses of war in peace.

Those are only the effects of direct military action. Saudi leadership also imposed a blockade on Yemen years ago. The result is starvation and a disregard for freedom of movement. Over fifteen million people in Yemen face acute food insecurity. As a result of the attacks on healthcare infrastructure, and weakening immune systems due to famine, Yemen is experiencing one of the highest death rates of COVID.

The Saudi leadership also has a terrible track record with women’s rights. Loujain al-Hathloul, a Saudi women’s rights activist was arrested alongside several other human rights activists in the Kingdom in 2018. She remains in jail for advocating against the ban on women driving (even though women are now permitted to drive), and for other political reasons. Do you want to compete for money coming from leadership that permitted the jailing and torture of women’s rights activitsts?

We understand you have a lot to gain by participating in this tournament, including a large sum of money. However, you also have a lot to lose, including a clear conscience, now that you are made aware of what Saudi Arabia’s leadership is doing to people just like you and me.

Meghan MacLaren already dropped out of the tournament citing human right’s concerns. We hope you also choose humanity over this tournament, and refuse to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International and the Saudi Ladies Team International and speak out against the Kingdom’s many violations of human rights.

Sincerely,

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