AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the world is horrified by the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, journalist and commentator, who was savagely killed at the hands of Saudi Arabian security forces in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018; and

WHEREAS, the murder of Khashoggi has had a chilling effect on journalists, particularly those who expose authoritarian regimes and autocrats; and

WHEREAS, President Trump’s failure to hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the death of Khashoggi amounts to a shameful cover-up that, sadly, exemplifies how commercial interests prevail over human rights and a free press; and

WHEREAS, in his writings, Khashoggi had called attention to the extreme authoritarian behavior of the Saudi Arabian royal family and government, which operates far beyond international norms and standards for human rights and the rule of law, including the fact that:

  • Saudi Arabia severely restricts freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Human rights defenders and critics are regularly detained, and some are sentenced to lengthy prison terms after unfair trials. For example, for the past two years, the American Federation of Teachers has protested the condemning to death by beheading of 14 young men who were convicted for peaceful civil disobedience;
  • Despite limited reforms, women still face systemic discrimination in law and practice. For example, dozens of women who are prominent in the country’s social reform movement remain imprisoned for political reasons; and
  • The war in Yemen is being waged by Saudi Arabia and a Saudi-backed coalition with American-made weapons that are being used on innocent civilians, including an airstrike on a school bus that killed 40 children. Healthcare facilities are deliberately targeted, and critical humanitarian aid has been blocked from reaching the population; and

WHEREAS, the AFT joined with Education International, the International Federation of Journalists and the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America in condemning the brutal murder of Khashoggi and calling for those responsible to be immediately held accountable:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will communicate with the leaders of both houses of Congress, as well as the members of the foreign affairs committees, our support for the bipartisan Senate Resolution 714, titled “A Resolution Expressing the Sense of the Senate That Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abd al Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia Be Held Accountable for Contributing to the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, Preventing a Resolution to the Blockade of Qatar, the Jailing and Torture of Dissidents and Activists Inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Use of Force to Intimidate Rivals, and the Abhorrent and Unjustified Murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi”; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT supports an immediate cessation to the armed conflict in Yemen, and the opening of access to humanitarian relief to address Yemen’s famine, the cholera outbreak and the collapse of the country’s infrastructure. The AFT will communicate its position to U.S. government officials and Congress; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will notify the embassies of the countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council of our opposition to Saudi Arabian human rights violations, and urge these countries not to participate in Saudi Arabia’s plan for political and economic expansion, “Vision 2030.” The AFT will also work with its colleagues in Education International and Public Services International to have their affiliates similarly notify Saudi embassies in their respective countries of their opposition to Saudi Arabia’s violations of human rights.