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Achieving the Sustainale Development Goals Together

Shia Rights Watch places an important emphasize on importance of education, and more importantly; importance of availability of education for all and accessibility of education for all age groups.
On March 29th, our New York representative Mr. Akhwand attended 66th Session of UN DPI/NGO conference titled; Achieving the Sustainale Development Goals Together, where  many  Non  Governmental Organizations shared their contributions in advancing Sustainable Development Goals,

In this event, participants also put forth ideas for betterment of “Education for Global Citizenship” conference to be held in Republic of Korea in June.

Shia Rights Watch, and its newly established SRWomen wing, view education as a mechanism for achieving healthy and stable change, and promote projects for education advancement.

Genocide Designation

The Shia Rights Watch would like to express its appreciation of Secretary of State, John Kerry’s recent statement in regards to recognition of ISIS’s crimes as “genocide”.
According to John Kerry, United States has determined that ISIS’s actions against minorities such as Yazidi, Christians, and Shia Muslims, all constitutes as acts of genocide. “Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, in what believes and in what it does,” The Secretary of State said in an official announcement.

The State Department had been reluctant to use term “genocide,” about the attacks and mass murders by ISIS, which leads SRW to believe that Kerry’s statement is a strong movement towards combating ISIS and its ideology

Furthermore, Kerry‘s support to collect and document the evidence against ISIS strengths and empowers human rights activists who have been endangering their lives in order to document ISIS’s crimes and advocates to hold perpetrators accountable.

Shia Rights Watch urges the White House to condone this statement and empower it further more. We also ask the State Department and the White House to denaturalize those citizens who join ISIS. Finally SRW hopes that US utilizes the International Criminal Court to punish not just ISIS fighters but also countries that financially and theologically support them.

Shia News Wire #59

March 12th to 18th, 2016


Monday March 14, 2016 daughter of political activist named Zainab al-Khawaja, and her one year old baby were detained by the Bahraini government; her father is serving a life sentence since the 2011 Shia led protests. She has been prisoned for numerous reasons including allegedly ripping up pictures of the Bahraini King.

Also the government deported several Lebanese on the accusations of them being part of Hezbollah, a Shia militant group. According to reports, so far 7 Lebanese families were deported on grounds of this.


Tuesday March 15, 2016 top Shia preacher, Abdur Razzak, aged 48, was hacked to death on his way home from his shop in Kaliganj town in Jhenaidah district. The attack was later claimed by ISIS. However, police say it wasn’t ISIS. He was declared dead later that night at Kaliganj Upazila Health Complex. According to his wife he had no enemy.

According to the head of the Shia School in the district, Abdur Razzak has been a member of the Shia community at least 20 years. Right before the murder, he received threatening calls from drug dealers who believed him to have helped arrest them months previously. Police believe the attack to have been done by an opposition political party as opposed to ISIS.


On March 12th, two chemical attacks by ISIS left one girl killed and hundreds injured. The wounded are suffering from infected burns, suffocation and dehydration.

Security and hospital officials say the latest attack took place early Saturday in the small town of Taza, which was also struck by a barrage of rockets carrying chemicals three days earlier.


Tuesday March 15, 2016 Saudi warplanes launched an attack of Shia majority market in northern Yemen killing and wounding dozens. The attack occurred at Mastaba, in Hajja province. According to sources, there are no military establishments in the area, meaning this was an attack against civilians.


Shia Rights Watch Engagement at the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council “Recognition of Minorities in Malaysia the case of Shia Muslims”

Shia Rights Watch_Azerbaijan
Recognition of Minorities in Malaysia the case of Shia Muslims

On March 15, 2016 Shia Rights Watch’s UN representative Mujtaba Akhwand  with cooperation with Freemuslim association participated in an item 3 Interactive Dialogue on Minority Issue regarding discrimination against Shia Muslims in Malaysia at 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Click here to download a PDF.

Mr. President

Shia Rights Watch and Freemuslim Association would like to thank you and UN bodies for their work. We admire the endless effort of Human Rights advocates around the globe, and like to bring your attention towards Malaysia.  Malaysia’s violation of its own constitution in regards to minorities, and in particular Shia Muslim is alarming to us. According to articles 3(a) and 11 of Malaysian Constitution, shia muslims are not recognized as a religious entity, nor their rights are protected  when terror attacks happen.

Like many other countries, Malaysia is enriched by minorities, culturally and religiously, but unfortunately since they are not included in the country’s constitution,  Shia Muslims have no legal way to address the human rights violations terrorizing their family members, and loved ones. As citizens of Malaysia, they are contributors to Malaysia’s social, cultural, and economical betterment, but their faith is not recognized and are banned to practice their faith.

Since 1996, National Fatwa Committee (CFC) refrained it’s previously recognition of Shia Muslims as Muslims. Furthermore all educational materials that is different from the doctrine of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, such as Shia doctrine, are recognized as unlawful.  This fatwa was a turning point, lead to increasing amount of discrimination, hate speech, and denial of rights regarding freedom of religion. Currently, four Shia Muslims face trials in court under Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment of 1997 in the state of Johore  based on Malaysia’s constitution, Section 9 and 12.During a court trial in this regard, on January 21st, 2016 the judge orders no public, nor media allowance to the court.   The lack of legal recognition leads to discrimination in all levels of legal system

Fatwas based on Sharia Law address followers of that religious sect, and faith of other citizens in  Malaysia are not considered in the implementation of law. All-inclusiveness in many other countries has led to their stability and ability to coexist, the Fatwa by National Fatwa Committee of Malaysia, decreases the ability of Malaysians to  peacefully pursue their daily lives, without fear of random attacks empowered by Fatwas or  hate speeches by extremists.


Thank you

Special Rapporteur Report in the Field of Cultural Rights and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief- Case of Saudi Arabia

A wide view of the Human Rights Council. Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré

March, 2016

Summary of Special Rapporteur report in the field of cultural rights and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief- Case of Saudi Arabia

Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, Heiner Bielefeldt, and Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on cultural rights stated receiving concerning alleged patterns of continuous demolition of Saudi Arabia’s historical sites and cultural heritages.

Following is a summary of the report:

Mosques, Shrines, and various other sites of religious, historic, and cultural importance in Saudi Arabia have been allegedly destroyed in order to promote a Wahhabi interpretation of Islam in which visitation of the holy sites is prohibited. Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s two holiest sites; Mecca and Medina.

In fact, it is estimated that over 90% of Saudi Arabia’s historical and archeological heritage has already been destroyed, and that more is planned by the government. The mosques being destroyed includes ones visited by the prophet Muhammad himself and, since 2014, there have been talks to destroy the mosque where the prophet’s body is buried and to move him to an anonymous location at Al-Baqi cemetery. The government has also destroyed the remains of his close friends and family in order to prevent people from seeking out these holy sites.

The government has destroyed many buildings of religious and historical significance under the guise of expansion of the grand mosque; this included tearing down an ancient library in order to add toilets for visitors.

In 2012, the government even demolished the first place the prophet ever taught Islam.

Thousands of years of history have been covered up by hotels, parking lots, and other modern amenities. By January 2015 the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowments set 10,000 pieces of property up for demolition.

In order to trivialize their historic or religious significance, many signs were posted stating the places may not have been actually important and that certain prayer was banned in these locations.  The government claimed that destroying such religious things actually helps religiously because it prevents idol worship; a religious sin in their eyes.

A response has been requested within 60 days in which the full threat is laid out, how if effects certain Islamic religious groups and targets them, how potential people affected have been consulted concerning these demolitions, etc.

Read full Report here.

Shia News Wire #58

March 5th to 11th/ 2016


Dr. Masood Jahroomi, a Shia Muslim, was forced deportation by the government after having his citizenship taken away. He was arrested in 2011 and was not allowed contact with family for a month, and wasn’t allowed a lawyer or given due process. He was detained five months before even being given a sentence. He was forcibly deported on March 7, 2016.


On Sunday March 6, 2016 a truck bombing struck Shilla, a predominantly Shia town killing 60.  The bombing killed 3 dozen civilians and the remainder were police officers. In the past week ISIS has killed about 200 Muslims, most being Shia.

Thursday March 10, 2016 ISIS attacked a Shia village in Kirkuk with poisonous substances targeting 40; 5 people remain in the hospital following the attacks. A total of 24 shells and rockets were fired by the Islamic State.

Attack on Wednesday March 9, left 17 people of the town of Taza in the hospital. This includes a young boy who suffers from critical burns as a result.

Women Empowerment, Major Step in Peace, reconciliation & Capacity Building

ShiaRightsWatch_300_dpi Freemuslim Association

Women Empowerment

Launch of SRW Women

Major Step in Peace, reconciliation & Capacity Building

A conference to discuss the social, civil, and religious rights of women, held by Shia Rights Watch Inc. at the 31st Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland on the 10th of March.

Hosted by Shia Rights Watch and Freemuslim Association, this will enable attendees to come together and learn more about the challenges faced by women globally and emphasize on practical step towards peace, reconciliation, and capacity building.

Shia Rights Watch Launches its SRWomen wing, focusing on raising awareness about Rights of Women and Girls.

Shia Rights hopes to contribute to betterment in status of women and girls in troubled regions, through cooperating with other organizations dedicated to protection and advocacy of rights of women

In this event,  Polisario Front Representative Ms. Miamine Abdeslam addressed challenges Western Sahara Women faced starting in 1970s,  and shared lessons learned and preventive measures were suggested by Ms. abdeslam for Shia women and Minorities around the globe to utilize the unfortunate events of past towards productive measures to achieve results in case of innocent Women and girls in Middle East and other regions of the world.

Mr. Ali Al- Ahmad, Executive Director of Gulf Institute, and Founder of ‘No Woman, No Play,’ initiative and emphasized on importance of sport in mental and physical health being of Women globally, and in particular countries where women are prevented from being active and be part of sport teams.

Ms. Nadia Alkotbi, Iraqi Woman Organization, shed light on disabled women , either by life events; or due to terror attacks through out the Middle East, and ways to include disabled women and girls in jobs, organizations, and other entities.

Launch of SRWomen at Human Rights Council, facilitated opportunity for Non Governmental Organizations to discuss Women Empowerment initiatives and productive measures to prevent rights of Women.

Focusing on:

  • Capacity Building at Home, Psychology of Effective Change
  • Girls of Today, Women Leaders of Tomorrow
  • Migration, Integration and Adopting Change; the Road Ahead
  • Woman Rights, National and International Challenges


Shia Rights Watch Engagement at the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council “Countering Terrorism and Promoting Equal Rights”

Human Rights Council- 31st session – Item 3

Promotion and protection of human Rights and Fundamental freedom while countering terrorism and Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights

Interactive Dialogue

Countering Terrorism and Promoting Equal Rights

Contribution Oriane Dumas

Geneva March 10, 2016

Mr. President,


Shia Rights Watch would like to thank you for your human right advocacy and the UN bodies and NGOs for their work. Year To Date, increasing number of victims of terror is alarming to us, hence we take this opportunity to reemphasize the importance and necessity of protecting rights of individuals, in particular rights of minorities living in the troubled areas. Increasing acts of Anti Shi’ism  terrorizes men, women and children in more than 25 Countries. Repeated violations against minorities, specially Shia Muslims have led to unstable and fearful environment for these minorities to pursue their daily lives.

As documented by the UN, “The United Nations ability to develop a comprehensive strategy has been constrained by the inability of Member States to agree on an anti -terrorism convention including a

definition of terrorism”, it is widely agreed upon that terror involves violence and spreads fear.  Acts of terror have caused serious physical or psychological harm to victims, and needless to add; have social, economic, and other consequences, which in many cases result in increasing acts of violence.

Many UN Member States have  ratified the need to counter terrorism. In pursuant of protecting lives of innocent men, women and children, we hope for a day that “ Variations of Terror” are recognized as “Unlawful Act” by all Member States. Reduction of terrorism globally, directly impacts well-being of all Racial, Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious Minorities and in particular the indigenous people. Shia Muslims are diverse in cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Sadly. researchers at Shia Rights Watch report 5093 Shia Muslims killed, 5416 wounded, and 431 arrested during year 2015 in fifteen countries.  These statistics do not include those who have been killed in armed conflicts. Victims of all documented cases are civilians whose rights are violated through terror act of a state or non-state agents due to their belief.

Violations such as Right of Employment, Education, Dignity, and Freedom of Expression are largely unreported due to the fear of further violations. Existing measures to protect minorities including Shia Muslims are limited. SRW therefore calls upon member States to facilitate avenues of dialogue with their current Shia constituency and also increase efforts to decrease terrorism and promote healthy coexistence between all citizen, irrespective of race, ethnicity, culture, gender and religion.

Thank you


Summary of Special Rapporteur report on Discrimination against Shia in Bahrain

Picture RT.com

March, 2016

Summary of Special Rapporteur report on Discrimination against Shia in Bahrain

Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, stated receiving concerning alleged patterns of continuous discrimination against Shia citizens (mainly Baharna and Ajam), which have been taking place since 2011 and are undermining their rights to freedom of religion, expression, and culture.

Shia Rights Watch has compiled summaries of each of these cases; you may find them below:

At the United Nations Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteurs reported discrimination against Shia in Bahrain such as…

  • Violence including arrest, torture, use of force
  • Destruction of places of worship
  • Destruction of signs of the presence of Shia citizens in the country
  • Shia marginalization
  • Misinformation regarding their religious and cultural identity through the educational system and the media
  • Citizenship revocation
  • Education and employment violations


In the immediate aftermath of the 2011 protest movement, the Bahraini authorities have targeted influential leaders of the political opposition as well as citizen protesters, in addition to the excessive use of force against political opposition and protestors.  It is alleged that repressive actions have been particularly aimed at, or were used specifically against Baharna and Ajam citizens; distinct ethnical groups whose members predominantly belong to the Shia faith.

Shia Heritage and Identity:

  • According to the report, Bahraini government has demolished or restricted access to several Shia mosques that were religiously and culturally significant. This included the three centuries old Abu Dharr Mosque and Al Khamis, one of the oldest Shia mosques in the peninsula.
  • Bahraini authorities censor education and historical narratives to marginalize the history of Shia’s, specifically Baharana’s, existence in the country for centuries. Increasing effort after 2011 is to associate Shia with Safavid loyalists who are foreign led and therefore do not share historical background with the rest of the population.

Media and Communication:

  • Numerous journalists and independent communication activists have been arrested, fined, and pressured to close protest and civil unrest coverage.
  • State media and information services use their outlets to spread hate speeches.
  • The Cyber Safety Directorate created in November 2013, blocks access in Bahrain to numerous websites expressing views about the Shia belief.

Employment and Housing:

  • Shia are excluded in almost all governmental positions. Although the government hires foreigners at department of education, Shia cannot be employed by the departments. Limitation in employment resulted in unemployment and therefore many Shia have to live in underprivileged areas that often lack clean water and other important services.


As of 2008, 2,000 people are stateless and majority of them belong to Shia groups such as Ajam and Bahrainis. Such status oppresses Shia furthermore as they cannot access social welfare, education, and employment. As the result this population often ends up living in poverty.

Based on presented report, the following articles were violated by the Bahraini government…

  • Articles 2, 18, 19, 20, 26, and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR)
  • Article 2, 6, 9, 11, 13, and 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),
  • Articles 5 and 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD),
  • Article 29 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

SRW, along with other human rights NGOs, has been reporting such violations and this recent report by Special Rapporteurs is further evidence that the Bahraini government is violating many international laws including its own constitution in some cases and must be hold responsible for its actions by international committees.

Read original report here:


Shia Rights Watch Engagement at the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council “The Shia Predicament in the GCC”

The Shia Predicament in the GCC.

On March 9, 2015 Shia Rights Watch’s Saudi Arabia expert participated in an item 3 Interactive Dialogue on Freedom of Religion or Belief, addressing the GCC discrimination toward Shia Muslims at 31st session of the United Nation Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Click here to download a PDF.

Mr. President

Shia Muslims in the GCC states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE & Qatar are facing a crisis that threatens their existence. Gulf Shia’s have been the main target of GCC governments and ISIS terrorists alike. Over 350 Shia’s have been killed in mosque bombings in Saudi and Kuwait, and by Saudi and Bahraini police,  death squads, and executions.

Gulf governments have marginalized Shia’s for generations, and built economic, educational, cultural and political barriers before them. Shia majority in Bahrain is treated in similar fashion, to how South African Apartheid treated the black majority.

The Saudi government bans the building of Shia mosques in Riyadh, and seeks to execute 30 Shia professionals for planning a Shia gathering in Makkah. GCC governments restricts Shia access to senior government positions, such as diplomats, ministers, judges, security officers, and religious officials. There is no Shia mayor in Saudi Arabia. Shia women suffer even more.

As if they were invisible, Gulf governments ban Shia from expressing their faith and culture on state and private media, and bans the teaching of Shia Islam at any educational institution. Saudi school textbooks cast Shia’s as enemies of Islam, as polytheists, and Jewish manifestations. Anti-Shia xenophobia and sectarian incitements –precursors of violence– are often repeated by Gulf officials without repercussions.

Saud Bin Naif, governor of the Eastern Province said this about Shia Arabs, “the offspring of Abdullah Ibn Sabba, the Jew, the Safavids who come out with their ugly faces.” The Saudi government runs the sectarian TV network Wesal, which operates from Riyadh and incite violence and hatred against Shia.

Dubai police Chief Dhahi Khalfan called for the forced conversion of Gulf Shia’s to Sunnism. Qatari government-backed Sheikh Yousef AlQardawi, frequently incite hatred and xenophobia against Shia. The same is true for AlJazeera Arabic. We hope your council appoint a special rapporteur to address the conditions of the Shia Muslim communities in the Gulf, as part of religious freedom and xenophobia; and to ensure an end to incitement, violence, and marginalization.


Thank you

UN Complaint