Saudi Arabia: Oral statement on the outcome of Saudi Arabia under the UPR


Islamic Human Rights Commission

11 June 2009.

Human Rights Council.
11th Session. 11 June 2009.
Agenda item 6.

Mr. President,

Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in particular notes in the Council’s report the recommendations regarding Freedom of religious minorities especially the Shia Community in Saudi Arabia.

IHRC research shows that not withstanding the fact that they are considered Muslims, Shias are the largest religious minority in the kingdom.

IHRC documented official discrimination against Shia Muslims in religious practices, the justice system and marriage.

In the Justice system, too, official biases against Shia have caused personal hardship and set dangerous precedents. In 2006 a judge annulled the marriage of a Shia and a Sunni because it was deemed that the Shia ‘lacked religious qualification’. Other such cases have been reported forcing some couples to leave the jurisdiction.

Discrimination in provision of places of worship and burial is prevalent in new cities.  Permission for purpose built places of worship is regularly denied and further various de facto centres for religious observance in various new cities in Saudi Arabia have been closed on the basis of planning contraventions, despite some being in existence for over 40 years.  In one recent case, the 74 year old administrator of one such centre was arrested and is still detained for refusing to close a centre down.

Similarly in new cities, Shias are denied permission to be buried in graveyards.
Islamic Human Rights Commission strongly urges the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to eradicate hate speech against minorities especially the Shia community and establish a mechanism to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination against them.

Thank you very much.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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