President Francois Hollande
Palais de L’Élysée
55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris, France
Dear President Hollande,
We at Shia Rights Watch are writing you to urge you to use your attendance at the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting to address human rights abuses committed by the Saudi government. Your attendance at this meeting marks a significant moment in France’s relations with the Gulf. The growing security and economic cooperation between your country and the GCC is making France a major player in the Middle East. With this comes responsibility and Shia Rights Watch hopes that you use this influence to serve as a voice for the millions of people whose lives are affected by the Human Rights abuses committed by the Saudi government.
The Saudi- led Operation Decisive Story and Operation Restore Hope have created a humanitarian crisis within Yemen. Saudi airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians and have left millions without food and electricity. A Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports, and subsequent attacks on vehicles delivering aid have stopped the delivery of essential goods to those who need them most in Yemen.
In addition to Saudi Arabia’s foreign involvement, domestically, Saudi Arabia has displayed repressive actions against its own citizens. Shia Muslims in Saudi’s eastern province have been systematically denied adequate social services and has faced widespread employment discrimination. Attempts by Shia who are affected by this to speak up are met with violence by Saudi security forces. Sheikh Nimr, a prominent peaceful advocate of Saudi’s Shia population, was arrested and sentenced to death under unsubstantiated charges of inciting violence. A country with such a long list of human rights abuses cannot be an effective partner in either security or economic matters.
Your attendance at this GCC meeting is of enormous importance, but it is how you use your attendance that will make the greatest difference. Your voice can be yet another voice that supports the status quo, or your voice can aid those who have been rendered helpless through years of continued violence and discrimination. Shia Rights Watch urges you to choose the latter and we hope to hear from you soon.
Shia Rights Watch