Shia Rights Watch (SRW), established in 2011, SRW is the world’s first independent organization dedicated to defend and protect the rights of Shia Muslims around the world. SRW is a non-governmental, not-for-profit research entity and advocacy group headquartered in Washington D.C. U.S.A. Shia Rights Watch holds a 501(c) status, as well as a Special consultation status (ECOSOC) with the United Nations. Shia Rights Watch aims to draw international attention to countries where Shia rights are violated. The aim is to give a voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. SRW achieves its objectives through strategic investigations supported by targeted advocacy in order to bring about informed action.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION FOR ALL
Shia Rights Watch envisions a peaceful world for all regardless of religion, gender, race and origin. SRW believes that Shia Muslims should be recognized as a religious group by the countries in which they reside. Discrimination should not be allowed and be brought to light whenever and wherever it takes place. God has given us all the freedom of religion and the right to live in peace.
NO SHIA ABOVE THE LAW AND NO SHIA BELOW THE LAW
Shia Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the rights of Shia Muslims worldwide. SRW stands up for victims of prejudice, and supports activism in order to prevent discrimination, support political freedom, and help ensure people’s human rights and religious freedom. SRW enlists the local public and international communities to support the cause of human rights for all.
SRW achieves these ends by investigating violations against Shia communities in order to raise awareness and fight injustice. SRW promotes needed change through research and publications and submits reports and articles to governments and international organizations. Also, SRW continually monitors media outlets to ensure coverage of Shia rights violations.
THE PURPOSE OF SRW
Shia Muslims face constant oppression throughout the world solely due to their faith. In some parts of the world, Shia Muslims for centuries have been targeted for persecution, as evidenced by the well-documented extremism of the Wahhabi movement. SRW believes that Shia Muslims need a human rights organization that highlights the violations committed against them and gives voice to their call for help.
Shia Rights Watch began with the collaborative efforts of religiously and ethnically diverse activists and volunteers who sought to advocate in support of international human rights. The momentum created by the activism of an increasing number of volunteers Shia Rights Watch. SRW currently has more than 1000 active members working in various locations worldwide. Members’ responsibilities range from gathering news and information to publishing reports and articles in order to advocate for change.
SRW believes that information is the most valuable resource in the investigative process. From the organization’s inception, SRW has focused on gathering information through various media: interviewing witnesses, family members of victims and victims themselves; on-site collection of resources; analyzing reports from various national and international organizations; meeting with non-governmental and religious organizations, leaders, and journalists; and creating information networks in a wide range of social sectors. Based on the information collected from the above sources, SRW is able to identify different types of human rights violations. These violations include but are not limited to:
- Violation of the right of living;
- Arbitrary arrest;
- Unfair trial, and illegal detention;
- Psychical & psychological abuse: torture, rape, and sexual assault;
- Illegal confiscation of private property;
- Demolition of religious centers;
- Employment discrimination;
- Education discrimination;
SRW AS A RESOURCE
Journalists investigating topics regarding the Middle East will benefit from SRW’s focus on the Shia communities since they are crucially important members of Middle Eastern society. For instance, in order to fully examine the ongoing atrocities committed against Arab Spring protesters, it is necessary to know about the Shia struggle in specific nations or regions in which the discrimination of Shia has been subtle, but persistent. The Arab Spring opened the door for more obvious persecution. Cases reported in other parts of the world, such as in South Asia, include violence and intimidation that reflect fluctuating trends in sectarian hostilities that have been fueled by various political issues, including terrorism. SRW’s aim is to be able to report the crimes affecting Shia in every part of the globe.
SRW’s investigators communicate directly with the victims and monitor multilingual news media outlets. SRW networks with national committees, international human rights organizations, as well as religious scholars of Shia communities. SRW’s members are made up of people with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds united in defense of human rights. This international network provides invaluable information to commentators and journalists who are seeking to explore the impact of events on the Shia communities worldwide. Reports can be viewed at www.shiarightswatch.org