A rights group founded by journalist Jamal Khashoggi months before his brutal killing two years ago, was officially launched yesterday in the US. Known as Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the organisation is the brainchild of the Washington Post journalist, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Following Khashoggi’s death, the organisation remained mostly dormant, but is now expected to become an active voice in the promotion of open government and democracy in the Middle East.
DAWN, which will be based in the US capital, aims to highlight human rights violations of America’s closest allies in Middle East and offer a platform to political exiles from the region to freely air their views; a vision for which many believe Khashoggi paid with his life after he was brutally killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul nearly two years ago.
“In the summer of 2018, Jamal founded DAWN along with some of his friends, based on his belief that only democracy and freedom will bring lasting peace and security to the Middle East and North Africa,” Sarah Leah Whitson, DAWN CEO, said at a virtual news conference on Tuesday.
“We are going to uphold Jamal’s legacy,” added Whitson, who was the former director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
US Senator Chris Kunz, a Democrat and member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the nonprofit will “help hold accountable the US government … in particular the Trump administration for the way it has put human rights at its back foot and economy and military interests first”.
To mark the second anniversary of the Khashoggi’s death, two high-profile documentaries about his killing, “Kingdom of Silence” and “The Dissident”, are to be presented on Friday. The first is a political thriller examining the complex relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, and how the murder of Khashoggi amplified entanglements between the two countries.
The second, directed by academy award-winning director of Icarus, Bryan Fogel, is “the untold story of the murder that shook the world.”
To mark the second anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder a group of Saudi dissidents has announced the formation of an exile opposition group, the National Assembly Party. Some of its members were associates of Khashoggi. One of six founders of the newly formed opposition party announced on Sunday his withdrawal from the group for unknown reasons.