To: Steven Kaplan, President, University of New Haven and Mario Thomas Gaboury, Dean, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences
UNH, Stop Helping Saudi Arabian “Security” Police
University of New Haven administrators, end your program with King Fahd Security College of Saudi Arabia and all collaboration with Saudi security and police.
Why is this important?
The University of New Haven (CT) has set up a BA program for the King Fahd Security College (KFSC) in Riyadh. Experts from UNH’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences will advise their counterparts at KFSC and will specialize in “criminal justice, homeland security and intelligence studies”.
The University of New Haven should immediately terminate this program. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a serial human rights violator and is committing the war crime of aggression against neighboring Yemen. No university should offer the government of the KSA any security assistance especially in those specialties which help it commit grave violations to persons’ basic rights and well-being.
The kingdom considers “criminal” a whole host of acts that are protected by rights to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, rights to peacefully assemble and protest, and rights to practice religion. The kingdom is an absolute monarchy and does not respect any of those rights. For example, the KSA levies severe punishment up to execution for the alleged crimes of “witchcraft”, “apostasy”, and “homosexual” acts. These are crimes only in the imagination of extreme bigots.
UNH is specifically creating a curriculum at KFSC specializing in “homeland security”. With a regime that sees all dissent as illegitimate UNH staff will unavoidably be helping the regime stamp out movements for democracy.
The advanced techniques developed at UNH will be used to track down people who peacefully protest abuses of government or simply discuss these matters. For example, it will be helping the Saudi police find bloggers like Raif Badawi who is in prison for ten years with an additional sentence of 1,000 lashes despite winning Europe’s Sakharov Prize for his commitment to freedom.
As is well known there’s no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia. Won’t UNH curriculum and skills be used by the kingdom’s rulers in its notorious persecution of its Shia citizens?
How will UNH make sure its skills taught to Saudi police won’t be used to track down women involved in such legal “offenses” such as driving cars, violating guardian laws, and not wearing an abaya? The answer is it can’t.
The KSA “justice system” often resorts to punishments like whipping, beheading, and crucifixion. It is unconscionable for UNH staff to help KSA security personnel more efficiently arrest those who will eventually suffer such cruel punishments.
Finally, Saudi Arabia is involved in a brutal, unprovoked war against forces in neighboring Yemen. Over ten thousand civilians are dead. The wreck of water and sewage systems has resulted in the plague of cholera with over 400,000 cases as of July 2017. UNH must not give any security assistance to a government involved in such a war crime.