Call for EU intervention to pressurise Saudi from using Haj for political gains
24 Aug 2017 - 3:37
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor urged the European Union Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the Union, Jan Figel, to call on Saudi Arabia to stop conditions and restrictions it has imposed for the arrival of Qatari pilgrims to its territory to perform Haj this year.
In a letter sent to Figel, the Geneva-based Monitor said:”We would like to draw your attention to this violation of the freedom of religion and performing religious rituals by Saudi Arabia against Qatari pilgrims”.
Euro-Med Monitor called for an immediate intervention to end the crisis of pilgrims by exerting pressure on Saudi not to use Haj as a tool for political gain, and not to impose conditions on pilgrims.
In the wake of the political crisis with the State of Qatar, the Saudi authorities imposed new restrictions on the pilgrims of Qatar to determine the place of their travel to perform Haj from Doha and aboard the Saudi Airlines only, the Monitor noted.
Stressing that the Saudi conditions are contrary to the principles of the European Union, and the mission of the envoy which aims to ensure the freedom of worship.
It called on the European Union Envoy to intervene to ensure that religious rituals are not used to achieve political goals, by removing all restrictions imposed on the Qatari pilgrims by the Saudi authorities.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor stressed the importance of the envoy’s intervention and his contacts with the concerned parties in order to end this discriminatory treatment against the pilgrims of the State of Qatar, and to ensure that Haj is excluded from political disputes.
The Qatari Haj Committee yesterday issued a statement apologising to Qatari pilgrims who are being denied performing the holy rituals due to restrictions imposed by the Saudi authorities by limiting their travel by only Saudi airlines, absence of Qatari consulate in Jeddah, ban of money transfer through Saudi banks and logistics problems.