Saudi Arabian women face severe discrimination in many areas of their lives © AP GraphicsBank
Yesterday, Saudi King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, including appointing women to the advisory body, the Shura Council.
What may sound like a drastic breakthrough for the conservative kingdom, known for its sex segregation and crass gender inequalities, only presents a limited step towards a more gender egalitarian society.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Last night’s record voter turnout and victory for Senator Barack Obama are a powerful demonstration to me that the American people are passionate about hope for the future and are willing to work to bring about the change they desire. It was inspiring to witness so many people turn out to exercise one of the most fundamental human rights.
This historic election also reaffirms my belief in the strength and effectiveness of grassroots organizing and the power to build a decentralized movement for change. That is the model on which Amnesty International was founded, and still forms the core of our life-saving human rights work.
Now, as we move forward and begin to work on the challenges ahead, we can do so with fresh affirmation that when committed individuals stand together and work toward a common goal, fundamental change is possible.
As human rights activists, we have new opportunities to press the United States government to abandon existing policies and practices that led to violations of rights at home and abroad, as well as a decline in U.S. reputation.
I encourage President-elect Obama to put human rights at the heart of the new administration, and I encourage all of you to keep fighting for human rights–for everyone, everywhere.