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President Obama: Violations in Saudi Arabia

Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia

No: 899

 Date: March 21, 2014



Mr. Barack Obama,

President of the United States of America

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama;

On behalf of the Shia Rights Watch (SRW), we respectfully urge you to use your upcoming meeting to press Saudi Arabia’s King, King Abdullah, to do more to protect the human rights of every Saudi, including the right to religious freedom regardless of religion or sect.
As you know, Arabia implements the most restricted laws against religious minorities, with the frequency and scope human rights violations increasing and therefore threatening people’s safety and freedom, particularly the majority Shia Muslims population, as well as its smallest religious minority communities, including Christians. 

Saudi Shia Muslims have always been treated as second class citizen without fair access to higher exudation and employment. They cannot practice their religion and honor their rituals even in their own privet properties without the fear of the authority: As an example there not a single Shia Islamic center or mosque in Ryadh despite its Shia population. Shia Muslims’ most historical mosques and graveyard such as Al- Baqi Cemetery have been destroyed and Shia are not allowed to visit the remains of such historical sites. Moreover Shia who visit this country for Hajj rituals face discrimination and degradation in different levels by the kingdom forces and their prayers books and holey stones are disposed at the airports. Clerics such as Sheikh Dr. Ali Al-Rubaie, who are employed by the kingdom, issue hatred statements against this population and even suggested demanding tribute (religious tax) from Shia in the kingdom.

In your meeting with King Abdullah, we hope that you will stress to him the vital importance of human dignity and having respect and tolerance towards all people and also discussing the importance of implementing freedom of religion for all its lawful citizens.  We also hope that you will press him to stop founding and providing safe haven to terrorist groups. Finally, we hope that you will discuss the need for the protection of minority rights and freedom for all.
We hope you agree that discussing the problems of sectarian tensions, violence, and human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia with King Abdulla is essential.  Without addressing these concerns, religious freedom in Arabia will continue to erode and the country will not have the peaceful, democratic future that its people deserve and the United States seeks to encourage.

Thank you for considering our request.


Mustafa Akhwand

Director of Shia Rights Watch


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