By Arab News
By Rashid Hassan
A cross section of Saudi society has rejected accusations by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch against Saudi Arabia.
They termed them publicity seeking groups and advised them to do better ground work rather than getting involved in anti-Saudi campaigns.
The outrage follows a call by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch who called for Saudi Arabia’s suspension from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council until the Kingdom-led coalition stops “indiscriminate airstrikes” in Yemen.
Mona Salahuddin Al-Munajjed, a sociologist and author who has worked for more than 15 years with several UN agencies, described the advocacy groups’ accusations as unfounded, untenable and politically motivated, which do not hold merit.
“These are all false accusations meant only to smudge the image of Saudi Arabia and are politically motivated; it is also reflective of Saudi bashing in Western society,” she said.
“My experience suggests that these people are ignorant of Arab values, and hold a strong bias against Saudi society. Such a campaign only helps to clear doubts, if any, in this regard,” she pointed out.
“I myself faced so many challenges on the issues of children and women’s rights as they have no intention of knowing the truth. They are driven by a different agenda,” she underscored.
“They talk of women’s rights, children’s rights and family; they should know that the Holy Qur’an and Shariah gave these rights much before they were introduced into Western society where the institution of family has broken with members living apart,” she emphasized.
Echoing the sentiment, Salman Al-Ansari, founder and president of Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, told Arab News that the Kingdom considers humanitarian work its religious duty. “The problem is that the international media does not cover much of the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts, although the Kingdom has emerged as the top donor worldwide, he added.
Notably, the Kingdom, which has carried out massive humanitarian and relief operations across the globe, helping people reeling from the effects of natural disasters or civil wars, ranks first among donor nations, a fact recently made clear by the UN.
The total Saudi humanitarian and development assistance worldwide exceeded SR54 billion in 2014, according to the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRELIEF) founded last year as a byproduct of these efforts to centralize humanitarian activities in the Kingdom and be the leading center for relief and humanitarian initiatives on an international level to help distressed individuals.
The figure on Saudi aid and assistance, prepared in cooperation with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance, the Saudi Fund for Development and the UN Development Program, place the Kingdom first among all nations in terms of donations as a proportion of national income, and fourth in the total amount donated.
Significantly, Saudi Arabia also ranks among the top 10 donors in dollar value in the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014. A study conducted by the World Bank, between 1975 and 2016, says the total Saudi aid contributed to over 90 countries amounted to $115 billion.
A timeline of the Kingdom’s foreign assistance over the past few years suggests that among the numerous efforts to help the Syrians, Saudi Arabia issued residency permits to 100,000 Syrians along with the right to free education, health care and employment.
Furthermore, the Kingdom has also provided $700 million in humanitarian aid and supported Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and other countries in co-ordination with host countries, which includes food, medical treatment, medicines, clothes and shelter.
Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the Kingdom has hosted around 2.5 million Syrians, who have been leading a decent life in the Kingdom like other expatriates.
The Kingdom also carried out 50 relief programs for Yemenis which included distribution of food baskets and clean drinking water, and health services for Yemenis in Djibouti. It distributed food baskets and baby milk among families in Dhali, Yemen and also established 300 high- quality shelter homes with refugees.
The KSRELIEF center also spent SR50 million to rescue displaced Yemeni people along with transporting them to secure places and providing them with essential services.
The Kingdom provided $1 billion in aid and soft loans to Iraq to help distressed people. In addition, the KSRELIEF center pledged $244 million to United Nation entities working to alleviate their sufferings.
“These generous donations by the Kingdom to help distressed people went deliberately unnoticed by the Western media giving undue space to the anti-KSA campaign,” said Zeyad Abdullah, a media coordinator.
He instead blamed the Houthi rebels, violating the UN-brokered cease-fire and truce on several occasions by firing missiles across the Kingdom’s border and launching attacks in parts of Yemen targeting women and children.
Notably, the Kingdom has rejected the accusations from these groups that the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which is helping restore complete legitimacy in Yemen, has conducted any such violations.