On 26 September, at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, ADHRB Advocacy Associate Tyler Pry delivered an oral intervention during the Item 9 General Debate. In his intervention, Pry highlighted Saudi Arabia’s failure to respect its obligations under the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, which calls on states to protect religious and ethnic groups from discrimination. Contrary to its obligations, Saudi Arabia conducted a paramilitary operation in the Shia-majority town of Awamiyah, which has killed at least 24 residents. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention, or click here for a PDF of his remarks.

Mr. President,

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

For example, Saudi Arabia continues to discriminate against its Shia minority community in the Eastern Province, who face disproportionate levels of poverty and state violence.

On May 10, Saudi security forces invaded the town of Awamiyah under the pretext of developing the historically and culturally significant Mosawara neighborhood. However, instead of compensating the residents for the demolition of their homes or providing alternative housing for the local Shia populace, the government instead has forcibly evicted thousands of the neighborhood’s Shia residents in a military action that has exacerbated already high poverty levels.

Throughout the duration of the military operation, which lasted from May 10 to August 21, security forces have used excessive and indiscriminate force against the Shia residents of Mosawara and Awamiyah. Authorities have used live ammunition against civilians and in July activists reported that government forces were using artillery against areas of the neighborhood. As a result of the violence, at least 24 residents have been killed, including a three-year-old boy.

The DDPA directs states to counter discrimination and intolerance in all its forms. 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.

 

Photo by Moosa Mohammed