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12 Oct 2020

Ewan Morgan, Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia: Al-Huwaitat tribe urge UN to intervene to stop forced displacement to make way for NEOM mega-city project following abductions & harassment

"Al-Huwaitat tribe seeks UN help to stop Saudi forced displacement", 9 Oct 2020

Saudi Arabia’s al-Huwaitat tribe has sent an urgent communication to the United Nations calling for an investigation into allegations of forced displacement and abuse by Saudi authorities. The request, submitted in late September, comes after months of alleged harassment, arrests, and abductions by Saudi forces apparently due to the tribe’s refusal to relocate to facilitate the government’s NEOM mega-city project. Suleiman Mohammed al-Taqique al-Hwaiti, a prominent activist from the Indigenous tribe, was arrested and imprisoned in the week starting September 21, and his social media accounts were deactivated. Thirteen other tribe members were allegedly abducted – apparently by the security forces – around the same time and are still being held in incommunicado in prison, according to an al-Huwaitat activist that spoke to Al Jazeera. On October 1, a further two tribe members were arrested, one taken by Saudi security forces outside Fahad Bin Sultan University, after they had criticised the Saudi government and the NEOM project on social media. Their whereabouts are unknown, according to members of the tribe....On September 23, a team of London lawyers working on behalf of the al-Huwaitat tribe sent an urgent communication to the UN urging them to intervene. Rodney Dixon QC was one of the lawyers who submitted the communication. “What’s happening there is certainly a violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,” he told Al Jazeera.