Monthly Roundup: Middle East


The citizens of Saudi Arabia were promised various reforms by the Late King Abdullah but the authorities continue to violate the rights of Saudi women, girls and foreign workers. Courts convicted human rights defenders and others for peaceful expression or assembly demanding political and human rights reforms. Women have absolutely no rights in Saudi Arabia: not to work, not to drive, not to have any funds of their own, etc. Immigrants have no rights there as well; even though the immigrants consists one third of the total population performing everything from the highest level jobs to the lowest level.

Human Right Watch has said the rise of violent groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) are the product of governments’ tendencies to ignore rights abuses. The condition deteriorated further in June, when an array of Sunni armed groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), took control of the cities of Mosul and Tikrit as well as other areas. According to UN Special Rapporteurs, the violence has displaced more than one million Iraqis. Serious violations by ISIS have included abductions, mass executions, and persecution of Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities.

The pre-election manifesto of President Rouhani stated that all ethnicities, religions and religious minorities must feel justice. Many Iranian citizens who voted for Rouhani believed that he would deliver on his promise of improving the standards and conditions of human rights in Iran. But the record remains the same. Recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has sharply criticized Rouhani for failing to improve human rights since taking office in August. Ban pointed out, “He (Rouhani) has not made any significant improvement” in ending human rights abuses since taking office.

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