HRC35 Item 9 Oral Intervention: the Durban Declaration and Saudi’s Action in Awamiyah

On 20 June 2017, ADHRB Advocacy Associate Tyler Pry delivered an oral intervention under Item 9 at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council on behalf of ADHRB. In his intervention, Pry expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s continued violation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by discriminating against its Shia minority population, particularly concerning its ongoing armed action in the Eastern Province town of Awamiyah. Please continue reading for the full text of his remarks, or click here for a PDF of his intervention.

Mr. President,

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain is concerned with some member states’ continued disrespect for the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action’s call to protect individuals from discrimination.

For example, the Saudi government continues to discriminate against its Shia minority community in education, employment, law, culture, and religion.In addition to structural forms of discrimination, security forces are conducting a military operation in the Shia-majority Eastern Province city of Awamiyah. Saudi authorities invaded Awamiyah on May 10 under the pretense of developing the historically and culturally-significant Mosawara neighborhood. However, they have shown no evidence they will provide alternative housing or compensation to those displaced, nor has the government provided its plans for redevelopment. Instead, security forces have forcefully evicted hundreds of the neighborhood’s Shia residents.

Since May 10, the operation has become a siege. Security forces have blockaded Mosawara and are not allowing emergency vehicles into the area. Their use of live ammunition and indiscriminate fire against civilians has killed at least five individuals, including a two-year old boy.

The DDPA clearly directs states to counter discrimination and intolerance. We call upon all states, including Saudi Arabia, to uphold their responsibility to the Declaration by providing protections for, and working to end discrimination against, religious and racial minorities.

Thank you,