Comment of K. K. Dolgov, Representative on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law of the MFA of Russia, on situation in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia
The incoming information on the development of situation in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia in recent days causes great concerns. On 9th July, in the city of Qatif, which is the governorate of the province, the clashes between law enforcement and a group of peaceful demonstrators took place. They protested against the existing, according to their opinion, impairment of the rights of the Shi’ite community on the part of the authorities of the Kingdom. These clashes, according to mass-media, resulted in 2 protestants killed and more than 20 wounded. One of Shi’ite religious leaders, sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, is among the victims — he was arrested by the police.
From our point of view, there is a risk that these events will make a negative influence on the stability and consent of civil society in Saudi Arabia. We expect that the authorities of the Kingdom will undertake all necessary measures to settle the situation in its eastern regions, to avoid conflict, including confrontation on interconfessional basis, and to ensure the observance of conventional human rights, including the right for freedom of expression of opinion, peaceful demonstrations and freedom of associations, as it is prescribed by the law.