The State of Reform: Human Rights, Democratic Development and Individual Freedoms in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States

Event Summary

Yesterday, Project on Middle East Democracy and Freedom House presented a panel of speakers addressing the issue of reform in Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf states. Thomas Melia, Deputy Executive Director of Freedom House and former Director of Middle East Programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and Ali Alyami, Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, spoke on reform in Saudi Arabia. David Mikosz, Associate Director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at the American University in Washington, D.C., and Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke about reform in the other Gulf states.

The overall consensus of the panel was that Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are among the least free in the world and the minimal reforms that have taken place are largely symbolic. However, there is some hope that democracy could develop gradually though accretion of power by parliaments or other consultative bodies. The panel also encouraged US pressure on the Gulf states to support reforms.

Event Details

Date: November 1, 2007 2:30pm

Panelists
Thomas Melia, Deputy Executive Director of Freedom House
Ali Alyami, Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
David Mikosz, Associate Director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at the American University
Nathan Brown, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Moderator:
Stephen McInerney, POMED’s Director of Advocacy

Downloads

Click here to read POMED’s full notes on this event.

Click here to watch a video transcript of this event on fora.tv or use the embedded player below.

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