SHAFAQNA – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to protect the rights of women and migrant workers, and to stop the persecution of dissidents and minorities.
“King Salman should halt persecution of peaceful dissidents and religious minorities, end pervasive discrimination against women, and ensure greater protections for migrant workers,” the HRW said in a statement released on Friday.
The statement added that Shia citizens in Saudi Arabia, who are faced with “systematic discrimination” in various aspects of their lives, have expressed anger over the biased treatment of minorities in the Saudi social system.
“Shia citizens protested for an end to systematic discrimination in 2011 and 2012, but authorities used force to halt these demonstrations and arrested and tried many of those who participated,” the statement noted.
The rights organization also criticized the kingdom’s strict control over media.
“The government continues to control the appointment of newspaper editors and punish Saudis who criticize members of the royal family, government policies, or senior clerics.”
The New York-based group further urged King Salman, who replaced King Abdullah after his death on Friday, to begin his reign by “ending intolerance for free expression, rooting out gender and sectarian discrimination and fostering a fair and impartial judicial system.”
International human rights organizations have repeatedly lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address the rights situation in the kingdom.
They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.