US senators: Let Saudi women drive
Many Saudi women have tried to challenge the state-imposed ban on female drivers. (file photo)
Fourteen US female senators have written a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, calling on him to lift the country's ban on women drivers.
In the letter, senators from both Democrat and Republican parties have urged the Saudi king to meet his country's commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, and let women drive, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
“The prohibition on women driving motor vehicles, even in cases of emergency, makes it impossible for citizens to exercise a basic human right,” wrote Senator Barbara Boxer of California, a Democrat member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, together with other lawmakers from both political parties.
The senators said the annulment of the ban would be a crucial step towards improving of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.
“We strongly urge you to reconsider this ban and take an important step toward affording Saudi women the rights they deserve,” they pointed out in the letter.
The senators, however, fell short of condemning the odd prohibition as an act of human rights violation.
The Riyadh government is the only state in the world that prohibits women from driving, though many women in the kingdom have challenged the rule by defying the ban.
In June, a group of defiant Saudi women went driving in response to calls for nationwide action to terminate the prohibition.
Saudi women have long complained of violations of their most basic rights.