NHRC urges UN to probe Saudi vi­o­la­tions of Qatar pil­grims’ right

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

HE the Chair­man of the Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee (NHRC), Dr Ali bin Smaikh alMarri, has called on the United Na­tions to con­duct in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the vi­o­la­tions of the right to prac­tise re­li­gious prac­tices in Saudi Ara­bia, point­ing out that af­ter about a year and a half of the siege cri­sis, there is no re­sponse by the Saudi au­thor­i­ties to end vi­o­la­tions and harm caused by its ar­bi­trary ac­tions.

This came dur­ing a meet­ing of the NHRC chair­man with Ahmed Shahid, spe­cial rap­por­teur on free­dom of re­li­gion or be­lief at the United Na­tions, in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

HE Dr al-Marri stressed the need for the Saudi au­thor­i­ties to re­spect the rights of cit­i­zens and res­i­dents of Qatar to prac­tise their re­li­gious rites un­con­di­tion­ally and to over­come ob­sta­cles fac­ing pil­grims from Qatar.

The NHRC chief con­firmed that the Saudi mech­a­nisms to deal with the sit­u­a­tion of vic­tims af­fected by vi­o­la­tions are mis­lead­ing and am­bigu­ous.

He added that the ac­tions taken by the king­dom’s au­thor­i­ties are merely a ma­noeu­vre to im­prove their im­age and to sti­fle the sta­tus quo, which re­sulted in the con­tin­ued de­pri­va­tion of Qatari cit­i­zens and res­i­dents to per­form Haj (pil­grim­age) and Um­rah for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

He said that the NHRC has also ad­dressed na­tional in­sti­tu­tions and some civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions re­lated to hu­man rights in Saudi Ara­bia.

How­ever, it has not re­ceived any re­sponse to its letters, nor has there been any sig­nif­i­cant co-op­er­a­tion from the Saudi side since the siege be­gan.

Dr al-Marri noted that the Saudi au­thor­i­ties ig­nore the re­ports and state­ments of the NHRC and the ap­peals of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly the Of­fice of the High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights and the ur­gent ap­peal of the UN spe­cial rap­por­teur on free­dom of re­li­gion or be­lief, which all called on par­ties to put an end to ob­sta­cles fac­ing the cit­i­zens and res­i­dents in Qatar for per­form­ing their re­li­gious rit­u­als, point­ing out that the Saudi au­thor­i­ties, de­spite all this con­tinue in their pol­icy of politi­cis­ing re­li­gious rit­u­als.

HE the Chair­man of the Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee, Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, meet­ing with Ahmed Shahid, spe­cial rap­por­teur on free­dom of re­li­gion or be­lief at the United Na­tions, in Lon­don.

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