Apr 11, 2019

Between April 10 through April 25, the Human Rights Foundation is partnering with Manal al-Sharif – the pioneering Saudi women’s rights advocate, Oslo Freedom Forum speaker, and author of Daring to Drive – who is driving across the United States, from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about ongoing human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. For more information you can visit the Freedom Drive website.

While she is on the road, Ms. al-Sharif will travel with a documentary film crew and meet with prominent women, students, local media, and community leaders to share her story and encourage a dialogue about the dismal state of women’s rights in her home country under the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Her itinerary is as follows:

  • April 10 – 11: New York, NY
  • April 12 – 13 : San Francisco, CA
  • April 14 – 15: Los Angeles, CA
  • April 16: Phoenix, AZ
  • April 18: Houston, TX
  • April 19: Austin, TX
  • April 20-21: New Orleans, LA
  • April 22: Birmingham, AL
  • April 23: Charlotte, NC
  • April 24: Richmond, VA
  • April 25: Washington, DC

Many mainstream media outlets, politicians, and world leaders have praised the “progressive” measures that Mohammed bin Salman has taken in recent years, particularly his decision to lift the ban on women driving. Yet behind this façade of reform is a brutal crackdown on dissidents and human rights advocates. Many of the women’s rights activists who advocated to lift the driving ban – includin Loujain Al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan and Samar Badawi – are now in jail and are being subjected to torture including electric shocks, flogging, and sexual harassment. Several might face execution.

In order to bring attention to the plight of these brave women, HRF will support Ms. al-Sharif in her drive across the United States. Her journey will include stops in 10 major cities across more than 3,000 miles, beginning in San Francisco and culminating in a protest event in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC.

To learn more about Ms. al-Sharif’s inspiring story, watch her Oslo Freedom Forum talk, read her Saturday profile in the New York Times, or read her memoir, Daring to Drive. HRF is proud to sponsor this historic initiative, which is part of our ongoing work to support rights advocates working to bring freedom and justice to Saudi Arabia and other closed societies.