Saudi Arabia condemns Russian comments on human rights

Published: July 15, 2012
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 Russia showed concern over the clash between Saudi law enforcement agents and peace demonstrators which killed two. PHOTO: FILE

Russia showed concern over the clash between Saudi law enforcement agents and peace demonstrators which killed two. PHOTO: FILE

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia on Saturday condemned comments by Russia’s human rights envoy on the situation in the kingdom as “hostile” and an unjustified interference in the kingdom’s internal affairs, the Saudi state news agency (SPA) reported.

The rare public exchange appeared to reflect tensions over the 16-month-old uprising in Syria where Russia has resisted introduction of Western- and Arab-backed sanction against President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian Human Rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov had expressed “great concern” about the situation in eastern Saudi Arabia following what he described as clashes between law enforcement and peaceful demonstrators in which two people were killed and more than 20 were wounded, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

The Saudi interior ministry has said there were no clashes but that two people were killed by unknown assailants last Sunday in the east, where the country’s minority Muslim Shi’ite population is concentrated.

“The Kingdom learned with strong astonishment and surprise about the comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s representative on human rights which represents a blatant and unjustified intervention … in the internal affairs of the kingdom,” SPA quoted a Foreign Ministry statement, attributed to an “official source”, as saying.

The agency said the government of Saudi Arabia condemned such comments as “hostile”.

“The kingdom hopes that this strange comment was not intended to divert attention from the savage and ugly massacres that the Syrian regime is practising against its own people with support and backing from known parties that are obstructing any honest effort to end the bloodshed of the Syrian people.”

Russia has blocked two U.N. Security Council moves to press Assad to end his crackdown. Saudi Arabia has been in the

forefront of Arab countries backing the rebels.

Dolgov had said that people in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia were protesting “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”.

Saudi Arabia had said that minor protests had taken place after the arrest of a cleric on charges of sedition, and after he and a group with him opened fire on police.

It said that two men who had been killed were shot dead by unknown assailants and an investigation into who killed them was underway.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • imme
    Jul 15, 2012 - 1:32PM

    wow finally someone spoke of holy crimes of holly kingdom!

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  • antanu g
    Jul 15, 2012 - 6:06PM

    Internal matters…? wow…and what about supporting the violent uprising in Syria..? Is is not meddling in internal matters of another state? World and its double standards….

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  • Jag Nathan
    Jul 15, 2012 - 6:41PM

    OMG. The emperor never had any clothes. It should take a lot of chutzpah for the Saudis to blame Syria for human rights violations and then frown on the Russians to point out that the Saudi sheiks have no clothes on the subject. Saudi Arabia has the vilest HR record on the planet. Of course in the schemes of geo-politics, the world has no issues burning candles for the victims of the Saudi system and bomb entire villages for the Syrians.

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  • Saleem
    Jul 15, 2012 - 8:41PM

    Its not just syria. The saudis sent forces to Bahrain to violently suppress the uprising there. The vast majority of suicide terrorists involved in 9/11 were saudis.

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  • brokenarrow
    Jul 15, 2012 - 8:54PM

    Is it a joke or what?Russia and Saudi Arabia discussing human right…..irony of sorts

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  • Sonya
    Jul 15, 2012 - 8:58PM

    While all the mainstream world media reported the killing of protesters, injuring and arresting a local Saudi leader Sheikh Nimr, like Huffington Post, Reuters, The Hindu, state funded BBC (but English only), NYT, The Australian, Russia Today, Press TV etc., a complete blackout observed by all the Pakistani champions of ‘free media’ including ET. There is nothing good in keeping the Pakistanis in darkness whereas they will get the news anyway. Not reporting by policy is a professional dishonesty and equal to the sin of supporting oppression. With ET being the first in opening this blockade (though not completely) is a sign there is some hope one can still put on the Pakistani media outlets.

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  • Babloo
    Jul 16, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Saudis talking of Human rights is like a brothel queen giving a lecture of chastity.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Jul 16, 2012 - 1:39AM

    Ever since Putin became president, Russia has been taking an aggressive stance in foreign policy. The Kremlin should know better whether it’s well-advised to alienate the Arab World, although it doesn’t import oil from the Middle-East. Russia will lose its goodwill in the region forever.

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  • Umer
    Jul 16, 2012 - 5:05AM

    Saudis also refused visa to Jamaat Islami’s Farid Paracha. What is going on?

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  • kaalchakra
    Jul 16, 2012 - 9:27AM

    Saudi’s recent act of backstabbing Pakistan was quite unfortunate, but still, Saudi assistance in an Islamic nation is not the same as interference by an outsider like Russia. Russians are relatively more careful, and they should stay that way if they are not to lose the respect of Muslims, as the US has.

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  • from India
    Jul 16, 2012 - 11:06AM

    Double standards practiced by both !!

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jul 16, 2012 - 11:37AM

    Russians are relatively more careful,
    and they should stay that way if they
    are not to lose the respect of
    Muslims, as the US has.

    Sir, ever heard the word Chechnya?

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  • Tony Singh
    Jul 16, 2012 - 12:40PM

    @j. von hettlingen:
    Why does one need Saudi establishment’s good will if not for oil? Does Russia care about Saudis? The Russians know Saudis are not going to buy any military hardware from them.
    2. Saudi Establishment may be disappointed. but Arabs in General and Saudis in particular are happy that someone has taken up their cause.

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  • Kaspar
    Jul 16, 2012 - 2:14PM

    The Russian comment is apt and timely. The Saudi Kingdom is one of the most oppressive in the world, as far as common Saudis are concerned. And to top it all, they are not used to anyone showing them the mirror, thanks to their friendship–or is it servility–to the West. Their best friend, the US, lectures the whole world on democracy and human rights, but the Saudis are exempt. Why? Because their oil and–as important–the bases on their soil–are needed by the Americans to maintain a foothold in the oil rich area. For the Pakistani leaders, Saudi Arabian government is a sacred cow, which nobody dare criticise.
    But this does not change reality. How about interference by the Saudis in Bahrain and other sheikhdoms in the Gulf, and in Pakistan’s internal politics?

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  • Zalmai
    Jul 17, 2012 - 12:57AM

    @Kaalchakra

    I guess you are not informed about imperial Russia’s expansion into the Muslim territories of Central Asia and later on how the USSR treated its Muslims after the annexation of said territories.

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