Saudi Arabia: A Ban on Expatriate Organizations


stop      According to an edict from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, effective 10 December, expatriate organizations and associations are banned from the Kingdom.

Right now this news is raising more questions than answers.

The statement notified foreign representatives that the establishment of such organizations “violated the rules and objectives of diplomatic missions.” The statement further requested that officials “comply and prevent the creation of community organizations,” and “immediately cancel formation of organizations and their activities without permit from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

The generic statement makes one question whether such organizations as the American Community Riyadh (ACR); Hash Harriers; British Wives Group; US-Saudi Business Group; Riyadh Rovers; and many other notable organizations will have to disband?  Or, will such organizations be able to continue but now need this new and unidentified permit from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

All countries in the world have organizations and associations which are popular among host country nationals and expatriates.  No reason has been given for this dramatic edict taking place in Saudi Arabia.

I do not envision any of the established organizations in the Kingdom taking this news lightly.  These organizations have been in place for about as long as there have been expatriates in the Kingdom and are valuable resources.

This is a highly unusual announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be followed closely by American Bedu blog.


10 Responses

  1. Astonishing. How could such violation of basic human rights happen in the land of the free?

    This must be a Western and Zionist cooked propaganda to make Saudi Arabia look undemocratic and violator of international declarations?

  2. Thank God if Saudis are awake after a long time. It may be propogated by the West or Zionist to create trouble for the Kingdom. But this is the only way to control expatriate organisations. I am happy if its true.

  3. Oh I can see this as expats are at least a third of the population and if they organized they would shut the country down. Saudi is weak and it the government knows it and others are realizing the extent of the vunerability. Without expats the country would shut down and if expats banned together they could change the country greatly. By the way the west and Zionist expats are not the majority of the expats they are an extreme minority and I doubt it has anything to do with either as the west and Zionist do not benefit from Saudi having issues. I would say it is Saudi’s mistreatment of workers, racist applications, aparthied, teachings of hatred to their children towards the other and their inhuman treatment of difference to include nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender and pick just about anything else that is against humanity to insert.

  4. I don’t think this is anything new. When I lived in Dhahran in the 1980s, there was a ban on “clubs” (or some similar nomenclature), so you had a lot of “groups” and “associations.” Sounds as if the ban is finally catching up with the workarounds.

  5. This is about a fear of labor unionising to get their basic human rights.

  6. Sami, are you trying to be funny? Your comment coming right after Ali Alyami’s makes it look as if you are doing satire…

  7. I think every country has right to do so.Specialy in now a days circumstances its a wise step.I dont think so taking permit is such a fuss as compare for exsisting of upto-no-good sort of groups or organization.I for once am happy

  8. I think it’s pathetic. It shows weakness and fear, but especially weakness.

  9. I am not sure i agree with the protests raised by many commentors here since each country has its own law and the Saudia minister clearly stated it bans any organizations that has NO permit from the ministry, normal protocol. And to address Ali’s query on how could this happened in the land of free-I don’t know Ali but you should inquire the other 37 countries that have been involved in violation of migrant rights including free countries such as US,Netherlands, France Germany Canada Israel etc. According to this source violations such as *
    Violation of the Complainants’ human rights.
    Criminal neglect of Complainants’ economic rights and violations of their political, economic, social and cultural rights by the Sending States.
    Violation of the Complainants’ political, economic, social and cultural rights by the Receiving States.
    They were also found guilty of violating provisions and principles embodied, among others, in the:
    1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
    1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
    1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
    1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;
    The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol;
    1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
    1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
    1984 Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
    1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child;
    1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its protocols;
    ILO Migration for Employment Convention (Revised); and
    ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189).

  10. This action by the Saudi government is consistent with its 2008 Inter-religious Dialogue plan, which prescribes suppression of Western concepts if they start affecting Muslims.

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