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Sun 22 Mar 2015 11:33 AM

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Calls for US to boycott Saudi Arabia over women's rights

US Senator also has urged Hillary Clinton to return millions of dollars her charity received from Saudi Arabia & the UAE, describing them as “thinly veiled bribes”

Calls for US to boycott Saudi Arabia over women's rights
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky). (Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton has been urged to return millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia and the UAE and to completely boycott the kingdom because of its stance on women.

US Senator Rand Paul, who is expected to be one of the Republican candidates for the 2016 US presidential race, said the donations to the Clinton Foundation amounted to “thinly veiled bribes” and said Americans should shun Saudi Arabia as it did the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He particularly singled out Saudi Arabia for its strict rules governing women and recent reports of a woman who complained she was gang raped but was then sentences to lashings for being in a car with a male non-relative.

Paul suggested Clinton could not purport to want to improve the lives of women – a cornerstone of her political campaigning and foundation work – if she accepted money from the kingdom.

“In countries that stone people to death for adultery and imprison people for adultery, this is the kind of thing you would think someone for women’s rights would be standing up against, instead of accepting thinly veiled bribes,” the senator told Politico website.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday the Clinton Foundation received $7.3 million from Saudi Arabians between 1999 and 2014, based on contributions of more than $50,000. Emiratis gave between $1-5 million last year alone.

The Clinton Foundation says the money has gone to good projects that are “improving the lives of millions of people around the globe”.

Hillary Clinton’s husband and former US president Bill Clinton has defended the donations from foreign governments and denied they would create conflicts of interest should his wife run for president in 2016.

He said it was possible to work with foreign governments even if one disagrees with some things they do, and that it was acceptable for them to donate to the Clinton Foundation if the donations are publicly disclosed.

"The UAE gave us money. Do we agree with everything they do? No. But they help us fight ISIL," he said.

Adrienne E. Watson, deputy communications director and director of surrogates for American Bridge's Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton group, came out to defend Clinton, who last week released a global report on the progression of women’s rights, called No Ceilings.

“This is rich coming from Rand Paul, who defends individual liberties only when it suits him, and not when these rights extend to the pay discrimination or healthcare of women,” Watson reportedly said.

“Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of women, children and their families. Throughout her life and through the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation and programs like No Ceilings, she has helped improve the lives of millions of women throughout the world."

 

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Hisham 5 years ago

I wonder if Saudi Arabia will interpret these remarks as interference in its own policy as it did with the Swedes minister who criticized Saudi Arabia for its human rights record or they'd just brush these remarks under the carpet. It will be duplicity in the acts of Saudi Arabia if they do not denounce the American remarks on their human rights. Although America itself can be perceived as hypocritical when it comes to its pursuit of its own interests since they ignore the actions of dictators on the basis of mutual benefits