HE the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, has called on the United Nations to conduct international investigations into the violations of the right to practise religious practices in Saudi Arabia, pointing out that after about a year and a half of the siege crisis, there is no response by the Saudi authorities to end violations and harm caused by its arbitrary actions.
This came during a meeting of the NHRC chairman with Ahmed Shahid, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief at the United Nations, in London Saturday.
HE Dr al-Marri stressed the need for the Saudi authorities to respect the rights of citizens and residents of Qatar to practise their religious rites unconditionally and to overcome obstacles facing pilgrims from Qatar.
The NHRC chief confirmed that the Saudi mechanisms to deal with the situation of victims affected by violations are misleading and ambiguous.
He added that the actions taken by the kingdom's authorities are merely a manoeuvre to improve their image and to stifle the status quo, which resulted in the continued deprivation of Qatari citizens and residents to perform Haj (pilgrimage) and Umrah for the second consecutive year.
He said that the NHRC has also addressed national institutions and some civil society organisations related to human rights in Saudi Arabia.
However, it has not received any response to its letters, nor has there been any significant co-operation from the Saudi side since the siege began.
Dr al-Marri noted that the Saudi authorities ignore the reports and statements of the NHRC and the appeals of the international community, particularly the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the urgent appeal of the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, which all called on parties to put an end to obstacles facing the citizens and residents in Qatar for performing their religious rituals, pointing out that the Saudi authorities, despite all this continue in their policy of politicising religious rituals.
The NHRC Chief called on the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, to inform the Saudi authorities to address the danger of politicizing religious practices and violations of their right to practice.
He pointed out that action would be taken against Saudi Arabia in this context to determine its legal responsibility locally, regionally and internationally, if it does not back down from its discriminatory actions.
"Unfortunately, it appears that we are facing a new type of racial discrimination that limits the freedom to practice religious rites," he said, adding that "despite the discrimination against religious minorities and religious fanaticism, the repercussions of the siege crisis, despite ideological and ethnic consensus among the peoples of the Gulf, is that the policies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have produced a new kind of discrimination because of the political dispute.
This is a precedent in the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in the United Nations.
We call upon him to include this precedent and to record all the violations that Saudi Arabia has been implicated in his annual reports to the Human Rights Council and to conduct studies to provide immediate and future solutions to these grave violations.", Dr. Al Marri said.
He stressed that the National Human Rights Committee is continuing its actions and procedures to determine the legal responsibility of Saudi Arabia for violating the right to practice religious rites.
This matter will be brought before Parliament, the European Union and other concerned bodies and organisations soon.
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