On the third anniversary of the heinous murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, we honor his extraordinary life and legacy. In his memory, we recommit to advocating for freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, activists, and dissidents everywhere. The United States will always stand by and protect the principle that individuals everywhere should be able to exercise their human rights without fear of punishment or harm.
Since the February release to Congress of the unclassified report on Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, we have taken steps to prevent such a reprehensible crime from happening again. We launched a coordinated effort to prevent and respond to any government targeting journalists, activists, and dissidents beyond its borders, bringing together diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence tools to deter repressive governments and better protect targeted individuals and groups, including within the United States. We also developed a global visa restriction policy bearing Khashoggi’s name, under which the United States can restrict and revoke visas for persons involved in the extraterritorial targeting of journalists, activists, or perceived dissidents anywhere in the world. The Department of State has taken action pursuant to the Khashoggi Ban to impose visa restrictions on 76 Saudi individuals believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing. Finally, we are increasing our public reporting on the threat posed by transnational repression and will include specific cases and broader findings as part of our annual Human Rights Reports.
President Biden has made clear that the United States puts human rights at the center of our foreign policy, and I have emphasized to our diplomats that standing up for human rights is squarely in America’s national interests and strengthens our national security. In elevating respect for human rights across the world, the United States will stand by and work with the brave journalists, human rights defenders, and other advocates who too often risk their lives to advance the rights of others. The United States will use every appropriate tool to see to it that they can conduct their important work in safety and security no matter where they are.