In response to a damning report by United Nations (UN) experts accusing Saudi Arabia of human rights violations in the NEOM project. Riyadh vehemently denies the allegations and defends its actions as necessary measures to combat terrorism and safeguard national security.
The UN report highlighted the arrests and trials of several individuals. Claiming they were targeted for “joining a terrorist entity seeking to corrupt the country through armed insurrection against the state” and engaging in terrorist activities. The Saudi government specified that these individuals were also charged with “incitement to participate in terrorist acts.” And “supporting two terrorist entities” linked to Daesh and Al-Qaeda. Additionally, Ibrahim Al-Huwaiti was accused of being involved in terrorism. In financing and supplying weapons to terrorists for their operations.
Saudi authorities insisted that the country’s judiciary operates independently. Remains uninfluenced by the government or any external entities. They maintained that the arrests and trials were conducted in accordance with the rule of law to safeguard the nation from potential security threats.
One of the primary concerns raised by the UN experts was the forceful relocation of historic inhabitants in the Tbuk region of northwest Saudi Arabia to make way for the NEOM project. The Saudi mission refuted these claims, asserting that the relocation was carried out lawfully and with due consideration for national interests. However, the UN experts accused the Saudi security services of implementing forceful evictions. Moreover, demolishing homes without providing adequate compensation. Particularly affecting members of the Huweitat tribe.
Criticism of Lack of Consultation and Compensation
Moreover, the UN report criticized the lack of consultation and informed consent from the Huwaitat people in the three affected villages. The experts argued that this absence of meaningful consultation casts. And doubt about the government’s guarantee of full compensation for the displaced individuals.
The dispute between Saudi Arabia and UN experts raises serious concerns about human rights violations. In addition to the treatment of indigenous communities in the context of major development projects like NEOM. As the situation draws international attention, calls for further investigation and dialogue persist to address the reported violations. Moreover, ensure that development projects uphold human rights standards and respect the rights of affected communities.