UN urges Riyadh to respect Shiite civilians’ rights

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The United Nations has eventually reacted to media reports about a deadly and destructive Saudi military crackdown against a besieged eastern Shiite town, urging the regime in Riyadh to respect human rights.

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said the UN could not independently verify the reports coming out of Awamiyah, but that all Riyadh’s actions should be in line with its commitments to human rights.

The UN wants Saudi Arabia to take human rights and international regulations into consideration before taking any action, the official was quoted as saying.

Awamiyah – a 400-year-old town in the eastern Qatif province home to around 30,000 people – has been surrounded by siege barricades put up by the security services since attempts to evict residents turned violent on 10 May.

Since then, the situation has rapidly deteriorated. Locals report at least 25 people have been killed in shelling and sniper fire, and pictures of streets covered in rubble and sewage look more like a scene from Syria than an oil-rich Persian Gulf city.

Awamiyah is located in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite-populated Eastern Province. The small town has, since 2011, been the center of anti-regime rallies, with the protesters calling for end to the kingdom’s discriminatory policies against the Shiites.

Foreign media are not allowed near the area, which means the world is reliant on heavily-controlled Saudi state media.

Meanwhile, the international community including mainstream Western media outlets have remained indifferent to the ethnic cleansing in Awamiyah. Western countries including, Britain, US and Canada continue to supply the Saudi regime with weapons and tactics used to clamp down on dissent in the Shiite majority region.

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