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Profiling Religious Identity at US Customs and Border Protection

In a leaked one-page memo, discriminatory measures within the US Customs and Border Protection after US-Iran tensions. Shia Rights Watch expresses concern about profiling by religion and nationality. The organization notes that such targeting calls into question background checks done by immigration services previous to the issuing of visas and travel documents and endangers the safety of religious minorities.

A document, “Iranian Supreme Leader Vows Forceful Revenge after the U.S. Kills Maj. General Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad – Threat Alert High”,  issued by the Tactical Analytical Unit of Customs and Border Protection Field Office in Seatle called for additional vetting for travelers from Iran and Lebanon and “Iranian and Lebanese nationals from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America” born between 1961 and 2001 as a way of identifying associates of the IRGC and QUDS forces.

The statement further said, “Even if they are not of SHIA faith, anyone can state they are Baha’i; please question further to determine this is the case.  When in doubt send for high side checks.”

Shia Rights Watch notes that the explicit statement issued is an escalation of the previously existing culture of discrimination of foreign persons and cultures. The leak sheds light on longstanding discriminatory sentiments within directives of the Customs and Border Protection Agency, specifically one that groups religious identities with and political affiliations.

The statement established a belief that anyone who is Shia is in-fact a participant or promoter of the IRGC and QUDS forces, and Iranian or Lebanese nationals who identify with other religions may be falsifiers who are hiding a criminalized religious identity.

The statement generalizes and criminalizes with little to no understanding of the diverse political affiliations within Iran and Lebanon. There are non-Shia Iranian and Lebanese nationals/ travelers, and there are many Shia Iranians / Lebanese who do not condone the actions of the IRGC or the QUDS forces.

Shia Muslims are nationals and residents of all nations of the world, one of which is the United States. They hold a diverse range of political, cultural, and ethnic beliefs, and they cannot be generalized to any single geopolitical faction.

Shia religious communities have long denounced political associations with Iran, and the false association of Shia Muslims with Iranian politics undermines their legitimate struggle for dignity and equal rights.

Shia Rights Watch further notes that inquiry into religious identity endangers minorities who are the target of violence. There are many Shia Muslims who have chosen the United States as a safe haven in which they can practice their religion safely. Many of those Shia Muslims do not openly announce their religious identity in fear of being targeted by extremist groups.

Shia Rights Watch calls for the condemnation of false affiliations of the Shia religion with any single political faction and encourages investigation into discriminatory practices within the US agencies.

Setting Grounds for Violence: Saudi Influence in Malaysia

Shia Rights Watch condemns violence-inciting speech at the Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia Convention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in early January of 2020.  Communication with both Malaysian and Saudi Arabian authorities have been initiated to address the abhorrent marginalization of Shia Muslims by Saudi presence in the nation of Malaysia. 

Sheikh Abdurrahman Ibrahim Al-Rubai’in, the religious attache in the Saudi Embassy of Malaysia, stated in his speech that “Te differences between the Sunnis and Shias are not merely over jurisprudence, but also has to do between truth and falsehood.”

He furthered that Shia do not believe in the Quran and urged the countering of Shia teachings as well as “Shia sympathizers” in the nation. Moreover, he undermined all efforts that quelled sectarian violence by noting that the two religious beliefs have nothing in common.

Al-Rubai’in made false claims against Shia Muslims, presenting them as deviants from the greater Islamic religion.   By distancing the Shia from the Muslim belief-systems, Al-Rubai’in creates a platform for human rights violations based on faith. 

With considerations that Shia Muslims exist as unrecognized religious identity, Shia Rights Watch notes that fabricated information about the beliefs of this group can encourage cultural violence. 

Sources further reported that the Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia passed a resolution to become subservient to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation lead by Saudi Arabia. The increased input of influence from Saudi Arabia in major religious entities increases the threat of permeation of violence-provoking Wahhabist ideologies that have long fueled terror organizations in the region. 

The events of the convention have troublesome implications for the safety of Shia Muslims in Malaysia. Moreover, such hateful language can lead to widespread discrimination against all minority entities in the country. 

Shia Rights Watch communicates a need to counter the marginalization of Shia Muslims through false presentations of ideology. Moreover, we warn of increased incidents of violence against Shia Muslims soon as the result of Al-Rubai’in’s speech. 

Correspondence to Malaysian and Saudi Arabian authorities can be found on ShiaRightsWatch.org. 

 

Condemnation of Hate-Speech by Saudi Attache in Malaysia

Following the provocation of anti-Shia sentiments by the Saudi religious attache to Malaysia, Shia Rights Watch voiced its concerns to Saudi Ambassador Reema Bint Bandar al-Saud. 

 

Honorable Ambassador Reema Bint Bandar al-Saud;

As the director of the Shia Rights Watch organization and on behalf of the global Shia community, I write to you in the grievance of anti-Shia sentiments raised in the  Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia convention held in Kuala Lumpur by Sheikh Abdurrahman Ibrahim Al-Burai’in, a Saudi religious attache in Malaysia. 

Shia Rights Watch asks for condemnation of hate speech by visiting Saudi officials and calls for the prohibition in the promotion of religious discrimination. 

Shia Rights Watch is an independent, non-governmental organization dedicated to defending the rights of minority religions, especially that of Shia Muslims. This organization advocates for acceptance in minority beliefs and draws international attention to the violation of the rights of Shia Muslims. 

Hateful speech by Sheikh Abdurrahman Ibrahim Al-Burai’in against Shia Muslims threatens the peaceful existence of religious groups in the country of Malaysia. Within his speech, Al-Burai’in excluded the Shia from the religion of Islam and presented false information in regards to the beliefs in the Shia doctrine.

The words of Sheikh Abdurrahman Ibrahim Al-Burai’in promotes a negative image of the nation of Saudi Arabia and extends images of the country as a discriminatory, hate-promoting, foreign influence. Such influence counters efforts of King Mohammad bin Salman’s in the creation of a new and improved Saudi Arabia.

Shia Rights Watch asks for a condemnation of any speech that marginalizes any religious group, both in the nation of Saudi Arabia and in countries with Saudi presence.

Shia Rights Watch promotes a wold free of religious discrimination and hate. 

With hopes of an inclusive world,

         Mustafa Akhwand

Response to Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia Convention, January 2020

In response to the hate-inciting speech by Sheikh Abdurrahman Ibrahim Al-Rubai’in, a Saudi religious attache in Malaysia at a convention organized by Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia (Ilmu), Shia Rights Watch communicated the following letter to Ambassador Dato Azmil Mohd Zabidi. 

 

Honorable Ambassador Dato Azmil Mohd Zabidi;

As the director of the Shia Rights Watch organization and on behalf of the global Shia community, I write to you in the grievance of anti-Shia sentiments raised in the  Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia convention held in Kuala Lumpur.

Shia Rights Watch asks for condemnation of religious discrimination on behalf of the Malaysian government and a limitation of Saudi influence within religious institutions such as Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia.

Shia Rights Watch is an independent, non-governmental organization dedicated to defending the rights of minority religions, especially that of Shia Muslims. This organization advocates for acceptance in minority beliefs and draws international attention to the violation of the rights of Shia Muslims. 

 Hateful speech by Sheikh Abdurrahman Ibrahim Al-Burai’in against Shia Muslims threatens the peaceful existence of religious groups in the country of Malaysia. Within his speech, Al-Burai’in excluded the Shia from the religion of Islam and presented false information in regards to the beliefs on the Shia doctrine.

To allow the harmful exclusion of Shia Muslims from the larger Malaysian society, and that in the hands of foreign political influence, undermines the reputation of Malaysian authorities in the development of peace. Moreover, hate-speech without condemnation communicates the allowance of violence and discrimination by radical hate-groups present in the region and creates a platform for violence by these groups in the country of Malaysia. 

On behalf of Malaysian Shia, Shia Rights Watch asks for a condemnation of any speech that marginalizes any religious group. The existence of Shia Islam in Malaysia extends centuries. Shia Muslims have long acted as committed citizens of this nation. Shia communities in Malaysia expressed on countless occasions their love for their homeland.

Shia Rights Watch promotes a Malaysia free of religious discrimination and hate.

 With hopes of an inclusive Malaysia,

         Mustafa Akhwand 

“The Weapon of the Word is Stronger Than Bullets”: Remembering Sheikh al-Nimr

January 2 marks the anniversary of the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr, a prominent leader in the opposition against State-led repression. Shia Rights Watch commemorates this day in honor of all of the lives lost in the struggle for human rights. 

Sheikh Nimr was the leading voice of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. He was unrelentless, steadfast, and uncompromising in the call for human dignity and equality.  Al-Nimr was a voice that recognized and acknowledged the pains of a group long marginalized – he was the voice of the people. 

Al-Nimr’s criticism of the government reaches back to 1994 when he began service to the Shia community in Saudi Arabia. His call for religious freedom gained traction among Shia communities, which long felt marginalized. 

 

“Stretching over a hundred years, we [Shiites] experience oppression, injustice, and terrorization. From the moment you are born, you are surrounded by fear and terrorizing and pursuit and pain.”

“I am more than 50 years old; I have never felt security nor peace in this country.” 

-Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

 

In October of 2014,  Al-Nimr was arrested and charged with foreign meddling and disobeying the ruler. He was sentenced to death. 

The activist had a history of unlawful arrests and arbitrary questionings. In 2003, he was arrested for leading prayers in his home. By 2009, al-Nimr had risen to prominence as the face of the call for religious freedom in the Kingdom following a hearted speech that criticized authorities of deliberate targeting of Shia Muslims after a deadly clash with pilgrims in the historically Shia Baqi cemetery.  Later in 2012, al-Nimr was arrested for “instigating unrest” after a raid to his home that left him injured by bullets. His arrest was met with national and international uproar protesting violations against al-Nimr while in detainment, including but not limited to torture. 

Across his experience in the court system, al-Nimr reported that due process was severely lacking in his cases. He was denied access to his lawyer in interrogations, not informed of trial dates, and uninformed of his charges until immediately previous to the hearing. 

Finally, in 2016, the death sentence against Sheikh Nimr was carried out along with the execution of 47 other Shia activists. 

Al-Nimr’s execution propelled him beyond the binds of Saudi Arabia. No longer is his voice limited to that of Shia Saudi Arabians- Sheikh Nimr is now an international symbol for human rights. 

Shia Rights Watch commemorates this day in memory of a man who stood for dignity and called for freedom of expression.

Today, we remember thatthe weapon of the word is stronger than bullets,” and we renew our commitment to creating change peacefully.

Bahrain’s Christmas Execution

In the West, people spend the holiday season taking action to promote their communities- they pay-off layaways and convene to share the spirit of compassion with those less fortunate.

This year, however, amidst congratulatory Christmas and New Years’ messages, concerns of human rights violations loom. While the holiday season is renowned for prosociality and giving, Shia advocates worry about the detrimental loss of life in detainees in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Mohammad Ramadhan, a pro-democracy activist currently under arbitrary detention in Bahrain, faces the death penalty on Christmas day along with his co-defendant Hussain Moosa.

Ramadhan was a security officer on night-shift when authorities took him to the Criminal Investigation Directorate. Once inside the building, he was blindfolded, stripped of his clothing, and beaten with metal rods. Officers labeled him a traitor and threatened to assault his family members if he did not confess to crimes against the State, crimes he did not commit. Ramadhan was charged and not granted access to a lawyer until only after a death sentence was passed against him.

A final decision was supposed to be announced on November 27, 2019. Authorities postponed the verdict to Christmas Day.

Advocates note that the postponing of Ramadhan’s hearing to Christmas will reduce international oversight on the case. Some note an increased prevalence of verdict executions on dates with limited foreign correspondence. One supporting case (among others) is that of the execution of Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab, Ahmed Isa Ahmed Isa al-Malali, and another in July 2019 while critical British MPs were in the summer holiday. Numerous activists have reported deliberate planning to be a means of avoiding foreign involvement.

Bahrain’s authorities are using Christmas, a holiday centered around love and community, to sway criticism against the execution of Mohammad Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa.

This year, let’s spend our Christmas in the application of the values that make this season so grand. The holiday season is an opportunity to spread values of civil and social responsibility and to raise awareness for those less fortunate.

Shia Rights Watch asks all members of the international community to make the oversight of cases such that of Ramadhan and Moosa a part of their Christmas rituals. Voice concerns and prayers publicly to communicate that although the holidays are a “break” from the every-day, conditions related to human rights are always monitored.

The coalition for human rights is restless, Christmas and all.

 

 

 

 

Discriminatory Inclusion Measures in India

ShiaRightsWatch

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Indian lawmakers approved an amendment to the nation’s Citizenship Law which, as claimed by proponents, grants dignity and equal opportunity for those facing religious prosecutions in neighboring nations. Through the new legislation, illegal migrants who have lived in India for five years can apply for citizenship. The adopted changes ease immigration for thousands of migrants and for the first time in Indian history, create a provision for religious identity to serve as a basis for granting citizenship. 

While the bill sounds hopeful, its contents are far from inclusive. Opponents note that using religious identity undermines Article 14 of the National Constitution which highlights the Right to Equality regardless of identity. India has a long history of secularism, but the bill along with recent State-sponsored speech signal a bleak future for India. 

The new law endangers religious tolerance and can promote violence against minority groups within the nation. 

Despite the bills aim to establish India as a refuge against religious prosecution, the bill raises concerns about discrimination within the nation against Muslim residents. The bill specifically eases naturalization for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian individuals from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, while ignoring the multitude of other minority religions and identities. 

The contents of the amendment counter its aims through the direct exclusion of certain religious groups, namely Muslims, and indirectly by signaling intolerance towards Islam and its followers. 

India is home to 200 million native Muslims and millions of Muslim migrants who have thus far played an active role in promoting diversity in the nation. However, in recent years, anti-Muslim rhetoric sponsored by the State has flooded the nation. Moreover, the lack of justice and anti-violence enforcement by the government encourages targeted attacks.

In 2016 alone, 86 individuals were killed and 2321 people were killed as a result of 700 incidents of communal violence.  

The bill advances allegations of demographic shifts enforced by the government. In November of this year, Amit Shah, the Minister of Home Affairs called for the expansion of the National Register of Citizens, an initiative to identify citizens and migrants, across India. The program serves as a part of Shah’s endeavor of removing what he calls, “termites” and “infiltrators,” from the country. In Assam, the initial cite of the program, sources report the exclusion of over 2 million citizens from the list- a large proportion of which were Muslim nationals. Many fear that exclusion from the census makes it harder for Muslims to prove their citizenship under the threat of deportation. The targeted displacement of Muslims paired with increased nationalization of non-Muslim migrants signals the architecture of India with a decreased Muslim population. 

As it pertains to Shia Muslims, the bill has dangerous implications. Already a targeted group, the new bill excludes Shia groups such as the Hazara from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan- all countries included in the bill. Exclusions of the Shia from the bill is a vehement display of biased policy as these groups have been established as endangered minorities in their native nations. As for Shia native to India, many may be expelled to nations in which their lives are targeted by active anti-Shiism. The bill further limits Shia Muslims fleeing prosecution, especially as it sets precedents in the region to explicitly limit migration based on religious identity. 

The 2019 Amendment to the Citizenship Law is a violation of the Indian Constitution, a document that has protected secularism in the nation for decades. Not only is the bill itself discriminatory against individuals outside of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Parsism, and Christianity, but it signals the acceptability of intolerance and prejudice. 

Shia Rights Watch calls for reconsideration in the content of the bill such that it is inclusive to any group that is at risk in the region as defined by the international community. Moreover, India is a multi-cultural and multi-religious nation and it must be noted that there exist minority religious groups under attack within the country. Efforts at the legislative level of society must be made to promote peaceful coexistence and justice for those who are violently targeted based on their religious identity within India. 

Human Rights Day

 

December 10th, 2019, marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It was on this day in 1948 in which inalienable rights, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, economic, or political status, were engraved in a single document.

Shia Rights Watch observes this day with pride because all humans deserve to live with dignity.

SRW uses this internationally recognized day to renew its goals of raising awareness against human rights violations, promote grassroots advocacy, and empower communities to overcome adversity.

In correspondence, this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Thus, the 2019 Human Rights Day is an opportunity to showcase the galvanized role youth have in the sphere of Human Rights promotion and protection.

On this day, Shia Rights Watch highlights youth of minority groups, children of those who are frequently marginalized from their larger society.

Frequently, broader integration and minority-rights based endeavors fail to account for the needs of the minors. The multitiered barriers that inhibit their empowerment can go long unnoticed.

Minority children not only live under the pressures of adolescents, but they also spend their days with the realization that they differ from other occupants in the places they call home. The children who are most affected by this marginalization are those of minorities who are stigmatized.

For instance, take the case of Shia Muslims. While they make up the largest minority religion in the world, Shia Muslims are also one of the most targeted groups. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Malaysia, cultural violence is propagated against Shia Muslims through public education systems. Moreover, political systems show no support for their Shia communities in cases against violence or discrimination based on religious identity.  Thus, as young children, Shia individuals are pushed to the margins of society with signals that they do not belong.

Research in various fields notes that marginalization affects the development of such youth disproportionately.

Thus, in recognition of December 10th as the International Day of Human Rights, Shia Rights Watch calls for the empowerment of children as first-movers in the strive for social equality. This organization highlights the need for increased social support for this group as well as interventions that empower youth to initiate change in their immediate surroundings.

Here are some research-backed ways communities and organizations can uplift the leaders of the future:

Recognize

  • Recognition that youth are key stakeholders in peacebuilding is the first step in building a comprehensive human rights program. Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, their current needs and grievances must be addressed in ensuring sustainable change in society.

Educate

  • At a young age, children must be familiarized with their rights and the rights of others. Initiate education of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in your community. Moreover, teach children to recognize rights and to voice violations of those rights.
  • Children are members of our communities with inherent dignity and rights. Parents and guardians are essential determinants in the harmonious development of children. Thus, they, too, must be educated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Empower

  • Youth understand what youth need, so include them in peacebuilding! Empowering children to be the primary change-makers should be a key goal in human rights endeavors. Create avenues in which children can ask for their rights and stand against human rights violations. Moreover, create grounds for which children can voice concerns and then promote peaceful conflict resolution.

As always, Shia Rights Watch calls on the international community to share their thoughts on social media through #StandUp4HumanRights and @ShiaRightsWatch

Incidents of Anti-Shiism, November 2019

Incidents of Anti-Shiism, November 2019

In November, Shia Rights Watch continues its oversight on anti-Shia incidents all over the world. Events noted in this statement are a collection of violence against Shia Muslims reported by grassroots activists and reporters. The organization notes that ongoing cases that follow up incidents cited in the previous analysis are not included in this monthly report. 

In addition to raising awareness, Shia Rights Watch uses Monthly Analysis to highlight events that address the Shia community. One such event was held by the Muslim Students Association and the Black Muslim Initiative and the Islamic Center of New York University, titled, “Making the Marginalized Mainstream: Being the Minority within a Minority.” At the event, university students discussed minority identities and physical appearances. Participants noted feeling marginalized by their “own community” based on their Shia beliefs and even more perception of discrimination based on skin color. Nawal Ali, a panelist at the event noted the hidden power of being a minority, “Even though I might have felt I wasn’t part of the mainstream, being different is your superpower,” Ali said. “I don’t know if mainstream should be our goal, but by being unapologetic we might be a window to Islam for somebody else, educating them.”  

Shia Rights Watch commends New York University for creating a space in which minority groups such that of the Shia identity can speak out and express their experiences. 

Shia Rights Watch notes in advance that incidents of violence, including death, injury, and social capital damage in the turbulent nations of Iraq and Iran, are not included in this statement. This organization notes that surveillance of anti-Shiism in these nations is ongoing. Due to the nature of the conflicts, however, Shia Rights Watch does not present findings in this report. More information on these conflicts and statements of this organization can be found on ShiaRightsWatch.org. 

Bahrain

Anti-Shiism remains a prominent source of conflict within the Kingdom of Bahrain. In November, an approximate 100 people have been arrested and sentenced without proper due process; 43 of arrests occurred within the first half of the month.

Sources report that arrests occurred prominently through midnight or early morning raids.  According to international accords taken up by Bahrain, the arrests are deemed unlawful on multiple accounts.  

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention,” and that “anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.”

Individuals were not charged at the time of arrest, according to family members present at the time of arrests. Moreover, defendants are not given opportunities to address allegations through appropriate legal means. 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9:  “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should the occasion arise, for the execution of the judgment.”

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14: “To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it” 

Once taken to detainment centers, Bahraini Shia are met with inhumane conditions. Sources within Jaws Prison note the centers deteriorating infrastructure. Moreover, prisoners report excessively time in solitary confinement relative to international norms. Prisoners report spending 23 hrs a day in cells

Conditions are even more heinous for those who suffer from medical conditions, pre-existing and acquired during their time in detainment. Early this month, the family of Hassan Ali ‘Abd al-Twana’ and Ayoub Adel expressed concern over their health citing negligence in Jaws prison. Adel has been refused medical attention for the second year despite rapidly deteriorating conditions.  

Not only do prison officials refuse to provide medical attention, but they also forbid provisions supplied by family members. Detainees are prohibited from communicating with family members. 

Many have protested against the aforementioned conditions. Among those in protest is Ali al- Hajee, who has uptaken a hunger strike of approximately 90 days.

Prisoners in Jaws, however, report increased violence as a result of protests against lacking conditions in Jaws. 

In November, two minors were among those arrested. Abdul Hadi Rajab, one of the underage individuals, arrested. The youth are currently held among adult detainees, despite the ratification of international treaties that calls for the separation of adults and minors. 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10: “Accused juvenile persons shall be separated from adults and brought as speedily as possible for adjudication. The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.”

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14: In the case of juvenile persons, the procedure shall be such as will take account of their age and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation.

Saudi Arabia

For years, human rights activists have called for the halting of arms sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In increased recognition of Saudi Arabian involvement in violations against humanity, numerous nations stopped selling arms to the Kingdom-nation. 

In November, South Africa halted the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. South Africa cited a violation of a provision prohibiting the transfer of weapons to third-parties and failure to comply with facility inspection.

The countries director for conventional arms controls within the defense ministry, Ezra Jele, noted conventions of human rights and United Nations resolutions as part of the basis of the decision. 

The halted sales make-up one-third of South Africa’s arms exports. Many have criticized the defense ministry’s decision citing loss of jobs, income, and prospects for future diplomacy. Shia Rights Watch, however, honors the halting of business based on human rights violations. The organization notes that while the decision may affect the nation’s economy in the short term, the decision signals values that, in the long run, benefit the country domestically as well as internationally. 

An increasing international sanction on sales to Saudi Arabia enforces called for actions by both limiting the Kingdom and by signaling expectations. 

Human rights violations in Saudi Arabia are extensive, especially towards religious minorities. In a single incident in November alone, eight pro-democracy activists were arrested by Saudi officials. Abdulaziz al-Hais, Sulaiman al-Saikhan al-Nasser, Wa’ad al-Muhaya, Musab Fuad, Fuad al-Farhan, Abdulmajid al-Buluwi, Abdulrahman al-Shehri, and Bader al-Rashed were intellectuals and writers were taken from their homes in Riyadh and Jeddah. Arrests were arbitrary as no specific crime was cited by the plainclothed, un-announced officers who raided homes. 

Those arrested face unknown futures. Shia Rights Watch warns against a fate like that of Hussein Ali Abdulaziz Al-Ribh, a 38-year old Awamiyah resident who lost his life while in detention in Dhahban Central Prison near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Ribh was taken in a house raid in August 2017, from his home. Activists closely following the Al-Ribh’s case fear his death to be a result of torture and medical negligence. 

Shia Rights Watch calls on the international community to continue sanctioning human rights violations, not just in the Saudi Kingdom, but all agents of violence. Actions taken today can have substantial long term impact, especially when they are made in collectives. 

UN Complaint