Rights group slams treatment of Mideast minorities

By AP
January 26, 2010 17:32

 
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A New York-based human rights organization criticized the governments of five Middle Eastern countries Tuesday, including close US-allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for their treatment of women and minorities.

Human Rights Watch released the chapters of its 2010 World Report that deal with Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, accusing them of poor treatment of women, minorities and refugees.

"Middle Eastern governments need to recognize that the rights of minorities, refugees, and stateless persons need greater protections," the group's Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in a statement.

The release of these latest chapters of the annual report follows Sunday's description of the post-election crackdown in Iran and the mistreatment of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates.

The chapters described a pattern of discrimination against minorities in the region, including Saudi Arabia's treatment of its 2 million-strong Shi’ite population and Syria's repression of its Kurds.

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