The New York Public Library has canceled an event co-organized by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s foundation after an outcry over human rights abuses, Gothamist reports. The 300-person event, which was supposed to be an international youth forum, was scheduled to take place at the library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman branch on Monday afternoon—the same day the United Nations General Assembly Week starts. The event was organized by the UN’s Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth and the Crown Prince's organization, the MiSK Foundation. While the Crown Prince's foundation provides support to the UN’s global youth development initiative, it has also been called a propaganda tool to deflect attention from the human rights abuses in the country.
“The Library made the decision today, citing concerns about possible disruption to Library operations as well as the safety of our patrons,” a statement from the library said. “The Library was aware of public concern around the event and one of its sponsors; it is important to note that the Library never endorses its rental events, and, as per policy, only screens for religious and partisan political events.” The UN's Youth Envoy and the MiSK Foundation have yet to publicly comment.