For a full list of Freedom Forward’s media coverage, please click here!

Andy Cohen, Bravo slammed by human rights groups ahead of ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’ premiere,” Yahoo News, May 27, 2022

“The human rights groups — Freedom Forward, Action Corps, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, CODEPINK, European Centre For Democracy and Human Rights, FairSquare, Health Advocacy International, Human Rights Sentinel, Just Foreign Policy, Last Mile4D, Peace Action and ReThinking Foreign Policy — sent an open letter to Bravo, its parent company NBCUniversal and the production company Truly Original expressing deep concern over the show.

‘Dubai is an absolute monarchy that is part of the dictatorship of the United Arab Emirates,’ it said. ‘By setting the Real Housewives franchise inside Dubai, you are helping the UAE dictatorship hide its male rulers’ misogyny, legalized homophobia and mass violence against women.'”







“The Facebook Papers Must Be Shared With Outlets Globally,” Wired, November 3, 2021

“Governments all over the world are using Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram as tools for surveillance and repression. And now, thanks to Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, we have confirmation that Facebook has been systematically ignoring some of the more horrific human rights violations on its platform—especially if they take place in countries outside Western Europe and North America. In fact, Haugen told The New York Times that the danger to the global south was the reason she launched the Facebook Papers in the first place.

‘As a global platform, Facebook deserves global scrutiny,’ says Sunjeev Bery, executive director of Freedom Forward, an organization that campaigns to end US support for non-democratic governments. ‘Authoritarian governments all over the world are skilled at using social media to drive their authoritarian agendas,’ he adds. ‘That’s why we need the journalists who understand these governments best to be at the table when it comes to analyzing the Facebook leaks.'”

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“‘English football will sell itself to anyone’: human rights groups on Saudi-Newcastle deal,” The Guardian, October 7, 2021

“Newcastle United has sold its name and reputation to a brutal government run by a brutal ruler, the organization founded by the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi warned on Thursday night, after the football club was taken over by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium.

Sunjeev Bery, the executive director of Freedom Forward, an organization that works to end US alliances with non-democratic regimes, said that the PIF had also been directly implicated in the murder of Khashoggi.

‘The Saudi public investment fund owned the planes used by Khashoggi’s assassins,’ he told the Guardian. ‘The Saudi public investment fund is in charge of the destruction of tribal communities where Bin Salman wants to build his $500bn Neom city. So the public investment fund is the direct financial arm of the Saudi dictatorship’s brutality, and it is the source of the cash that finances the repressive system. There is no division between the PIF and the state. The Saudi ruler is in charge of the PIF, sits at the top of the PIF and uses the PIF directly to maintain power. The Saudi monarchy is using football to hide this horrifying record, and everyone should be utterly appalled.’”







K Street Firm Finally Cuts Ties With Saudi Office Implicated in Khashoggi Murder,” Mother Jones, September 23, 2021

“A powerhouse DC lobbying firm has formally cut ties with the Saudi government office implicated in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The move comes after an advocacy group Khashoggi founded launched a campaign to shame the firm and one of its top lobbyists.

Squire Patton Boggs on September 17 terminated its representation of ‘the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court.’ That office, despite its mild name, acted as a hub for cyber hacking and more sinister efforts spearheaded by de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, to silence critics.

Freedom Forward,
an organization that worked with DAWN, also circulated a petition, signed by more than 6,300 people, calling for the firm and Newberry to stop working for the center.”

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“AIPAC accused of Islamophobia after attacks on Ilhan Omar,” Al Jazeera, August 12, 2021

“The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is facing accusations of Islamophobia and incitement after doubling down on attacks against Muslim-American congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.”






Saudi squeeze: why Biden’s boxed in by an ‘ally’,” Politico, March 1, 2021

“Arab activist Iyad el-Baghdadi, who himself has been the target of a Saudi “kill team” warns against ‘punishing dictators without assisting the societies they suppress.’ Sunjeev Bery, executive director of the advocacy group Freedom Forward, said in a statement that ‘The Saud ruling system that produced MBS has created vast levels of suffering and death.’ In other words: the real problem is not MBS, but the Saudi system.

 (Saudi Arabia is) an autocracy that juices the world’s addiction to fossil fuels with an extremely poor human rights record at home and abroad (take, for example, its current role in Yemen, which is pushing the country to the edge of the biggest famine in decades). As former deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes puts it: ‘why do we have an ally that murders journalists?’ The Saudis also gave us most of the 9/11 bombers, the ideology behind ISIS, and likely kidnapped the Lebanese prime minister in 2017.”






“In Review, Biden Seeks New Balance in Saudi Ties,” The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2021

“The review of relations with the oil-rich kingdom is broader than has been reported. Along with arms sales and the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, it includes an assessment of whether the U.S. has done enough to hold Saudi officials accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and other aspects of the two countries’ ties, U.S. officials said.”

‘It would be an absolutely terrible outcome if one year from now the Saudi monarchy returns to internal repression and anti-democratic external interventions simply because it comes to the conclusion that Western governments are turning the page,’ said Sunjeev Bery, executive director of advocacy group Freedom Forward.”






“UAE: Expo 2020 Dubai held to distract attention from rights abuses, says HRW,” Middle East Eye, October 1, 2021

“Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are using Expo 2020 Dubai to promote a public image of openness that is at odds with the government’s efforts to prevent scrutiny of its rampant systemic human rights violations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

On Thursday, a coalition of eight rights-based organizations called on CNN, an official broadcaster of Expo 2020 Dubai, to reveal all financial and contractual terms of its relationship with the UAE monarchy, ‘Expo 2020 Dubai,’ and of their ‘Dubai Now’ promotional content. 

The groups, which included Freedom Forward, Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn) and Code Pink, said if CNN was unable to meet the requests, it should immediately withdraw as an official broadcaster for Expo2020 Dubai.”

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“Saudi Arabia’s G20 faces global controversy,” Al Jazeera, November 21, 2020

“Saudi Arabia’s human rights record casts a long shadow on this year’s G20,“ Responsible Statecraft, November 2, 2020

(Article authored by Freedom Forward executive director Sunjeev Bery)

“New opposition is emerging to the Saudi G20 here in the United States as well. Led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), 45 members of Congress are calling on the Trump administration to demand dramatic human rights reforms from the Saudi monarchy or drop out of the Saudi G20 summit if the monarchy refuses. In an emotional  press conference we organized with Schakowsky and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), American and Saudi women revealed their own struggles with Saudi state discrimination and violence against women and their families.

Saudi Arabia’s ruling elites will soon learn that the only exit strategy from global isolation is one that involves embracing human rights and democracy. The old Saudi strategy of glitzy events and international convenings has backfired spectacularly amidst a rising tide of global boycotts and demands for change. These trends will only intensify, as will the pressure for this monarchy to finally end its unceasing brutality.”





“Feminists Urge Pompeo to Withdraw U.S. from G20 Summit Hosted by Saudi Arabia,” Ms. Magazine, October 27, 2020

(Article authored by Freedom Forward executive director Sunjeev Bery)

“In a press briefing, U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) unveiled a letter signed by 45 Members of Congress and delivered to the Department of State calling on the Trump administration to stand up for women who are facing torture, forced separation from their children, arbitrary detention and more in Saudi Arabia. (Watch the emotional video here.)

‘Question the situation of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. All the reforms that are happening today in Saudi Arabia will touch only people that have supportive families, because there are many other laws that contradict what the reforms are doing. So even if they are saying they are easing the male guardianship system, for other women it is still applicable. And if they stopped Loujain because she tried to help to improve the situation, they will do it again and again,’ declared Alia AlHathloul, whose sister Loujain Alhathloul is currently detained in a Saudi prison, where she has been subjected to torture for her human rights work.“






“Saudi Arabia loses vote to stay on UN Human Rights Council; China, Russia and Cuba win seats,” CNBC, October 14, 2020

“The development after the kingdom’s two consecutive terms on the council, some analysts say, demonstrates the deterioration of its image on the world stage following high profile human rights scandals including the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the detention of several women’s rights activists. 

‘Under Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the monarchy continues its downward slide into global isolation and irrelevance,’ Sunjeev Bery, executive director of American foreign policy advocacy group Freedom Forward, said in a statement. The group has managed to successfully convince the mayors of New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles to boycott Riyadh’s hosting of this year’s G-20 economic summit in November.”  




“Sadiq Khan refuses to attend city mayors’ summit in Saudi Arabia,” The Guardian, September 30, 2020

“The campaign has been led by a group of mainly US-based activist organisations, including Codepink and Freedom Forward. A petition from Freedom Forward gathered 7,000 signatories.”

“World Trade Organisation urged to reject Saudi candidate for senior role,” Middle East Monitor, August 19, 2020.

“Some 18 pro-democracy and human rights groups, however, have written to the WTO urging the organisation to reject Riyadh’s candidate citing the kingdom’s human rights abuse and Al-Tuwaijri’s complicity and silence over its brutal repression.

‘Al-Tuwaijri has long been complicit in the Saudi government’s human rights violations and has chosen to remain silent on his government’s brutal record of repression,’ said the letter, urging WTO members to reject Riyadh’s candidate.”







“COVID-19 Is Pushing a Quarter of the Arab World to Poverty, UN Warns,” Vice News, July 27, 2020.

Sunjeev Bery, the executive director of Freedom Forward, which campaigns for the United States to cut ties with developing world autocracies, said it was high time for Arab dictators to come good on their promises of reform.

‘The spread of coronavirus across the Middle East isn’t just a public health crisis — it’s a political crisis,’ Bery told VICE News.

‘The dictators who rule Egypt and Saudi Arabia have done much to devastate societies across the region, whether through corruption or war. It’s no coincidence that both dictatorships are top recipients of US military support. Without this Western backing, they might have been forced to change their behavior long ago.'”

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“L’Unesco épinglée pour ses liens avec une fondation créée par le prince saoudien MBS,” Le Figaro (France), November 18, 2019

“…a Saudi foundation is taking part this week in the 11th Youth Forum at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Although the participation of the MiSK foundation is limited to a single ‘young leader of tomorrow,’ the origins of this institution, its political role and the controversial personality of its secretary general cause a stir within the constellation of the United Nations.

Created by Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman (known as MBS), MiSK, which wants to ‘promote world peace and provide opportunities in education, culture and science,’ is the flagship of the public relations campaign orchestrated by MBS , whose image was severely damaged by the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, 2018 at the premises of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.”

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“Emotion à l’Unesco après l’invitation à Paris d’une fondation caritative saoudienne”, Le Monde, November 18, 2019.

“MISK is a propaganda platform for the Saudi dictatorship. It is linked to spying on Twitter accounts of opponents of the Saudi regime and to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This is not merely a foundation, and UN institutions should not collaborate with it.”  — Sunjeev Bery of Freedom Forward, as translated from French article.

“Rights groups were up in arms on Tuesday at the presence of a youth ‘charity’ at a Unesco event in Paris with close ties to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and run by a figure linked to a dissident espionage case in America.

Some 6,500 people have signed an online petition calling for the UN body based in the French capital to ‘end its partnership’ with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (MiSK), the Saudi crown prince’s personal charity.

‘It’s about time that all UN bodies abandoned MiSK for good,’ said Sunjeev Bery of Freedom Forward, which launched the online petition.”

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“Unesco under fire for hosting Saudi crown prince’s personal charity at Paris ‘youth’ forum,” The Telegraph (UK), November 11, 2019

“Rights groups were up in arms on Tuesday at the presence of a youth ‘charity’ at a Unesco event in Paris with close ties to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and run by a figure linked to a dissident espionage case in America.

Some 6,500 people have signed an online petition calling for the UN body based in the French capital to ‘end its partnership’ with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (MiSK), the Saudi crown prince’s personal charity.

‘It’s about time that all UN bodies abandoned MiSK for good,’ said Sunjeev Bery of Freedom Forward, which launched the online petition.”

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“La Unesco, acusada de ofrecer ‘cobertura’ a una fundación de represión política en Arabia Saudí,” ABC (Spain), November 11, 2019

“The non-governmental organization Freedom Forward (FF) accuses UNESCO, the United Nations Organization for Culture, of giving MISK ‘cover’ and ‘a platform for propaganda and repression’ of the Saudi Arabian regime.

Sunjeev Bery, executive director of FF, has spent many years denouncing cases of corruption and ‘dangerous relationships’ between US diplomacy and racist dictatorships and regimes.

Bery comments on the relations between MISK and UNESCO in this way: ‘This Saudi organization is the cover of a propaganda platform at the service of Saudi Arabia. It has been used to spy on and repress young Saudis who have had the ‘boldness’ to express themselves freely on Twitter and other social media. By accepting their donations, offering its cover as an institution devoted to the defense of culture, UNESCO becomes an accomplice in the police and religious repression of the Saudi regime.”

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“Saudi ‘Davos’ turnout underscores costs of Khashoggi murder,” PRI’s The World, October 28, 2019

“’European politicians and tech companies are keeping their distance, but the Trump administration, China and the world’s populists and authoritarians can return,’ Eckart Woertz, director of the Hamburg-based GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies, told The World. ‘MBS is halfway in from the cold, but not completely.’

But to human rights campaigners like Freedom Forward executive director Sunjeev Bery, that is just spin for a regime that killed Khashoggi, jailed other dissidents and bombs civilians in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition seeks to restore a toppled government.“

Worldstacked
“Saudi ‘Youth Forum’ at New York public library canceled after activists’ outcry,” PRI’s The World, Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

“‘This is an important moment for us.’ Bery is with Freedom Forward, the group that started the petition that led to the cancellation of the event at the New York Public Library. ‘Even though the Saudi dictatorship still technically had an event in New York, it was an event that was a far cry from what they intended. Multiple speakers dropped out, and they were even dropped by the United Nations itself.’”

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Nicki Minaj Praised for Pulling Out of Saudi Arabia Concert After Furious Online Backlash,” Newsweek, July 9, 2019

“Jeffrey Smith, founding director of Vanguard Africa, and executive director of Freedom Forward Sunjeev Bery also applauded Minaj …”