CODEPINK celebrates Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement today that he will be skipping the 2020 G20 Summit hosted Saudi Arabia. Mayor de Blasio had been invited to participate in the U20 part of the summit for mayors of major world cities. CODEPINK and a coalition of peace organizations have been calling on mayors from all over the world to boycott the summit because of the war crimes and human rights abuses being committed by Saudi Arabia both in Yemen and internally.
On Tuesday, September 22, CODEPINK sent an email to thousands of supporters in New York City asking them to email de Blasio urging him not to participate in the summit. “Just because the President and weapons manufacturers are complicit in the violence perpetrated by the Saudi monarchy doesn’t mean our cities need to be,” said CODEPINK Yemen campaign manager Danaka Katovich in the email to NYC supporters. “Yemen has endured over five years of air raids and blockade. As the suffering of Yemenis continues at the hands of MBS, no mayor should agree to participate in the summit.”
On September 20, a letter was also sent to de Blasio from a group of peace organizations representing millions of Americans. The signers of the letter included CODEPINK, FreedomForward, ActionCorps, Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, Just Foreign Policy, and eleven other organizations.
Responding to the concerns of our organizations and members, Mayor de Blasio released a statement that he would be skipping the summit. “We cannot lead the world without speaking out against injustices,” he said, urging his colleagues to follow his lead.
“Since March 2018, Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been languishing in prison for her activism calling on Saudi Arabia to grant women the right to drive,” explained CODEPINK co-director, Ariel Gold. “No mayors in good conscience should agree to attend the U20 Summit until Loujain and the other imprisoned Saudi human rights defenders are freed and the bombing and blockading of Yemen ceases. I hope that the mayors of Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and more will soon follow de Blasio in rejecting the invitation.”
CODEPINK activists around the country are asking other mayors to join de Blasio in boycotting the summit.