The Euro-Mediterranean Human Right Monitor and the IRDG expressed in their speech before the Human Rights Council during the 42nd Ordinary Session their deep concern over the Saudi authorities’ detention of dozens of Palestinians and cases of forced disappearance with no legal support.
“Dozens of Palestinians have been victims of enforced disappearance in Saudi Arabia, though concealment is always a crime under international law,” said the two organisations in a joint statement.
In early September, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Right Monitor documented the testimonies of 11 Palestinian families whose members had been detained or forcibly disappeared in recent months during their stay or visit to Saudi Arabia. They were isolated from the outside world without specific indictments or without being brought before the concerned authority (the Public Prosecution). Also, they were not allowed to communicate with their families or contact their lawyers.
The two organisations explained that there is no legal basis for detaining these people without informing their families about their whereabouts by the Saudi authorities.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Right Monitor and the IRDG called on the Human Rights Council to condemn in the strongest terms the abduction and forced disappearance of innocent civilians and to contribute to the efforts to ensure their release. They also called on all international parties to act immediately to save the Palestinians, including the elderly who have been subjected to enforced disappearance in the Kingdom, whose executive authorities have committed a long series of human rights violations.
The two organisations also urged the United Nations to open an urgent investigation into the practice of enforced disappearance and to work on pursuing and prosecuting those responsible.
Under international law, the crime of enforced disappearance persists until the state discloses the fate or whereabouts of the concerned person.
Victims of enforced disappearance are people who have disappeared from their loved ones and society. State officials or those working under the state’s consent isolate these people from the outside world when they arrest them in their houses or even in public places. Then, they deny this or refuse to reveal their whereabouts. This practice is prevalent in many Middle Eastern countries.