Saudi prince kills 2,100 vulnerable houbara bustards in Pakistan


This video is called MacQueen’s Bustard on a mating dance.

Note: the article below here mentions “houbara bustards“. Meanwhile, biologists consider the MacQueen’s bustards of Pakistan and elsewhere in Asia, as a species, separate from the African houbara bustard. BirdLife still sees the two species as one species; which it considers Vulnerable.

From Dawn daily in Pakistan:

Arab royal hunts down 2,100 houbara bustards in three week safari

KARACHI: A Saudi prince has poached over 2,100 internationally protected houbara bustards in 21-day hunting safari in Chagai, Balochistan, during which the royal also indulged in illegal hunting in protected areas, says a report.

The report titled ‘Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard’ prepared by Jaffar Baloch, divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife department, Chagai at Dalbandin, says the prince hunted for 21 days – from Jan 11, 2014 to Jan 31– and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard toll to 2,100, sources said.

They said that hunting of the internationally protected bird was banned in Pakistan also, but the federal government issued special permits to Gulf states’ royals.

Permits, which are person specific and could not be used by anyone else, allow the holders to hunt up to 100 houbara bustards in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved and protected areas.

The report dated Feb 4, 2014 (No: 216-219 HB/CHI) says that during the 21-day safari the prince hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas, poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.

Giving a breakup of date-wise as well as area-wise details of the prince’s expedition, the report says that he hunted 112 houbara bustards in the Gut game sanctuary (Arbe pat) which is a reserved and protected area on Jan 11, 2014.

Also read: Houbara bustard butchery | An eulogy for 2,100 bustards

The next two days on Jan 12 and 13th he hunted 116 and 93 birds in the Gut game sanctuary (Sai Rek) which is also a reserved and protected area. Then for the next two days Prince Fahd, who is also governor of Tabuk, visited Sato Gut and hunted 82 and 80 houbaras on Jan 14 and 15, respectively. On Jan 16, he visited Gut-i-Barooth and hunted 79 houbaras. Both these areas are not protected areas, says the report.

For the next six days the Saudi royal camped in the Koh-i-Sultan state forest, which is a reserved and protected area, and hunted 93, 82, 94, 97, 96 and 120 houbara bustards on Jan 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, respectively.

On Jan 23 and 24, he continued his hunting spree in the Gut game sanctuary (Dam), which is a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 116 and 197 houbara bustards, respectively.

The prince carried out hunting of the protected bird in Thalo Station and hunted 89 houbara bustards on Jan 25 and spent the next two days hunting the birds in Pul Choto, killing 34 and 89 birds on Jan 26 and 27, respectively. Both of these areas are neither reserved nor protected, says the report.

The remaining four days, Prince Fahd spent in the Gut game sanctuary, a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 92, 94, 119 and 97 birds on Jan 28, 29, 30, and 31, respectively. The royal guest took rest on Feb 1 and 2 at the Bar Tagzai base camp after bringing the grand total of his trophies to 1,977.

The report says: “123 birds were hunted by local representatives and other labourers of the hunting party. The total bustards hunted by Prince Fahd bin Abdul Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud are 1,977 and total bustards hunted by local representatives and other labourers are 123 bringing the grand total to 2100”.

See also here. And here.

This reminds me of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s butchery of partridges.

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Saudi princesses tortured for protesting regime’s anti-women policy


This video from Britain says about itself:

28 March 2014

Tonight exclusively on Channel 4 News the daughters of the king of Saudi Arabia speak out about being locked away for years.

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

‘We are hostages’: Saudi princesses who say they are kept locked in palace as punishment for advocating women’s rights make another plea for help

Sisters claim they are being held hostage for supporting women’s rights

Princesses say their family beat them and deny access to food and water

By Josh Gardner and Daniel Miller and Jessica Jerreat

Published: 03:36 GMT, 20 April 2014 | Updated: 13:47 GMT, 20 April 2014

One of the Saudi princesses who claims she and her sisters are being held captive by their father has managed to make contact with the outside world.

Sahar, the eldest daughter of Saudi Arabia‘s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, said the women were being starved and beaten on the orders of her father.

The 42-year-old princess, who had lived a life of luxury before the past 13 years of captivity, made her claims during a clandestine phone call to the New York Post.

‘We are cut off and isolated and alone. We are hostages,’ she said.

‘No one can come see us, and we can’t go see anyone. Our father is responsible and his sons, our half-brothers, are both culprits in this tragedy.’

She said that the King was punishing her and her three sisters, Jawaher, Hala, and Maha, because they spoke out about the injustices and inequality faced by women in Saudi Arabia.

‘That was it for him. It was the end for us,’ Sahar said.

Saudi Arabia has one of the most oppressive human rights records for gender inequality. Women must be covered from head to toe, are banned from driving and have every move shadowed by a male guardian – usually a husband, brother or father.

The girls’ mother, who fled into self-imposed exile in London to escape what she said was an abusive relationship, backed up her daughters’ claims and said she feared for their safety.

‘They once had a normal life for Saudi Arabia, but they are free thinkers, and their father hates that,’ Alanoud Al Fayez told the New York Post.

‘They are compassionate about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arab world. The injustices that we see are terrible, and someone must say something.’

Her daughters claim that they are beaten, denied food and water for days at a time, and have been confined to a dark and isolated part of the royal estate.

Power supplies and running water are shut off for days or weeks at a time and the women have been separated from one another, with Sahar and Jawher in one room and Hala and Maha in another.

‘Our energy is quite low, and we’re trying our best to survive,’ Sahar said, adding that the rooms they are kept in are sweltering hot and overrun with bugs.

She added that men, including their half-brothers have beaten them with sticks.

An official at the Saudi embassy in London denied the sisters’ claims and said they were free to go where they liked but, because they are royalty, they needed to be accompanied by armed guards.

Their mother however, rejected the official’s claims and alleged that her former husband wanted the sisters to die.

‘That place was once a home. Now it’s a cage,’ she told the Post.

‘The king wants them dead and he wants them to die in front of the world, yet he will deny any of this ever happened.’

Al Fayez has campaigned about her daughers’ plight to President Obama and the UN.

The 57-year-old called on Obama to help before he visited the King during an official visit.

‘Mr Obama should take this opportunity to address these grave violations committed against my daughters,’ she said.

‘Since 13 years, my daughters Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher are being held captive. ‘They need to be saved and released immediately.’

Al Fayez has written to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to say that her daughters are ‘imprisoned, held against their will, cut off from the world’.

Obama paid a visit to Saudi King Abdullah’s desert oasis at the end of March.

Abdullah became king of Saudi Arabia in 2005. The oil-rich state is a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and its extensive royal family enjoy massive wealth, with the king one of the world’s richest men.

Al Fayez was only 15 when she married King Abdullah, who was then in his 40s, but he divorced her just over a decade later.

The king, who has 38 children by a number of wives, has placed his four daughters with Alfayez under the control of three of their half-brothers, according to Sahar.

See also here.

Investigating the Saudi Government’s 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment – Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1: here.

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Saudi Arabia deports refugees to dangerous Somalia


This video says about itself:

MaximsNewsNetwork: 25 August 2010 – UNHCR: Mogadishu, Somalia – The ongoing conflict between the transitional government and the Al-Shabaab militants has displaced over a million Somalis and pushed hundreds of thousands to neighbouring countries seeking asylum; the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, reports that as many as 4,000 Somalis had been deported from Saudi Arabia over the previous year.

Somali citizens are among thousands recently deported from Saudi Arabia. Many have left because of the ongoing fighting between government troops and Islamist insurgents.

Asha Ahmed Abukar left Mogadishu six years ago to escape the anarchy and violence that has plagued Somalia for years. She lived, married and had her four children in Saudi Arabia, but recently she was sent back by the authorities.

Asha ended up here — in this derelict world of makeshift cloth huts — near Mogadishu along with another 150 deportees.

Fartun Ali Mohamed’s story is similar. She was sent back to Somalia after nine months.

Asho is here alone too. Her husband stayed in Saudi Arabia to work. But now he is in hiding because he has no legal papers.

SOUNDBITE (Somali) Asho Ahmed, deported Somali:

“I was captured on my way to do laundry for the people I was working for and sent to a deportation centre. My children were brought to me. I was there for 15 days and then I was deported to Somalia eight months ago.”

SOUNDBITE (Somali) Fartun Ali Mohamed, deported Somali:

“I suffered a lot during my deportation. I was pregnant and had a child in hand. My husband got sick and died. Now we are in the bush in a refugee camp, we suffered a lot.”

SOUNDBITE (Somali) Asho Ahmed, deported Somali:

“If there is peace I would like to stay in Somalia. There is nothing I like more than my country.”

From Human Rights Watch:

Saudi Arabia: 12,000 Somalis Expelled

Mass Deportations without Considering Refugee Claims

February 18, 2014

(Nairobi) – Saudi authorities have deported more than 12,000 people to Somalia since January 1, 2014, including hundreds of women and children, without allowing any to make refugee claims. Saudi Arabia should end the summary deportations, which risk violating its international obligations not to return anyone to a place where their life or freedom is threatened or where they face other serious harm.

Seven Somalis recently deported from Saudi Arabia told Human Rights Watch researchers in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, that the Saudi authorities had detained them for weeks in appalling conditions and some said Saudi security personnel beat them. None had been allowed to speak with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to discuss possible refugee claims before being deported. UNHCR said in mid-January that “south central Somalia is a very dangerous place.” UNHCR also said the Saudi authorities have denied its staff access to detained Somalis in the country.

“The Saudi authorities have deported thousands of men, women, and children to conflict-ridden Somalia, while denying them any chance to seek asylum,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher. “Saudi Arabia should allow anyone fearing serious ill-treatment at home to claim refugee status, with help from the UN, if needed.”

The head of Somalia’s Immigration and Naturalization Services told Human Rights Watch researchers on February 3 that Saudi Arabia had deported 12,332 Somalis to Mogadishu since January 1. According to UNHCR,a number of the deportees are not only from Mogadishu but also from other parts of south-central Somalia.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the Somali Interior Ministry expects Saudi Arabia to deport another 30,000 in the coming weeks. The deportations are part of a Saudi campaign to remove undocumented foreign workers.

Saudi Arabia should immediately introduce procedures allowing refugees, including those from Somalia, to seek asylum or other forms of protection. Children should not be detained because of their immigration status, and unaccompanied children – those traveling alone without caregivers – shouldnot be held with unrelated adults.If Saudi Arabia identifies anyone at risk of harm in Somalia the authorities should give them secure legal status and should work closely with UNHCR, if needed. It should also urgently improve detention conditions for people waiting to be deported, and only detain as necessary and proportional to that need.

The deported Somalis Human Rights Watch interviewed described severe overcrowding, lack of access to air and daylight, sweltering heat, and limited medical assistance in Saudi detention centers as they awaited deportation. All complained about the quality and quantity of the food. One deportee said prison guards beat him repeatedly, and another saw guards beating detainees who complained about conditions. With one exception, none of the detention centers had bedding and detainees slept on the floor.

Somalis said that beatings and other abusive treatment continued during the deportation process. A woman in her ninth month of pregnancy, Sadiyo, who was arrested and deported separately from her husband, told Human Rights Watch that a Saudi policewoman beat her on the back with a baton while she stood in line at Jeddah airport. She went into labor and gave birth on the cabin floor of the plane as it flew to Mogadishu.

“Saudi authorities should investigate allegations of abuse in detention and during deportation,” Simpson said. “The government should immediately improve its dreadful detention facilities.”

One deported Somali, Mohammed, said Saudi authorities detained him in five detention facilities for a total of 57 days before deporting him.

“In the first detention center in Riyadh [the Saudi capital], there was so little food, we fought over it so the strongest ate the most,” he said. “Guards told us to face the wall and then beat our backs with metal rods. In the second place, there were two toilets for 1,200 people, including dozens of children.”

The deportees may risk life-threatening situations or inhuman and degrading conditions in south-central Somalia. In Mogadishu, approximately 370,000 displaced people live in dire conditions in camps for people who have fled famine and violence elsewhere in the country, with inadequate security. Fighting continues in many parts of south-central Somalia. The Islamist armed group al-Shabaab still forcibly recruits adults and children.

Al-Shabaab bombings and other attacks in Mogadishu frequently target or otherwise kill and wound civilians. …

Customary international law prohibits refoulement, the return of anyone to a place where their life or freedom would be threatened or where they would face persecution, torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment.On January 17, UNHCR issued guidelines on returns to Somalia and called on countries not to return anyone before interviewing them and ensuring they do not face the threat of persecution or other serious harm if returned. Both UNHCR and IOM say that Saudi Arabia has not made any such determination before sending the Somalis back.

“Somalia is still wracked by violence that kills and maims civilians, while hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people are barely surviving in insecure camps,” Simpson said. “Saudi Arabia and other countries where Somalis are living should closely examine any refugee claims and other claims for protection Somalis may have.”

Saudi Arabia has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and does not have an asylum system. UNHCR, which has a small office in Riyadh, is not allowed to receive and review refugee claims, a process known as “Refugee Status Determination.” The Saudi authorities have no other procedures allowing Somalis or others who fear persecution or other harm in their home countries to seek protection in Saudi Arabia.

Major donors to UNHCR, including the European Union and the United States, should press Saudi Arabia to end its deportations of Somalis.

“The Saudi government is entitled to promote employment opportunities for its own citizens, but it needs to make sure it’s not sending people back to a life-threatening situation,” Simpson said. “Saudi Arabia has no excuse for not offering protection to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Somalis Describe Detention Conditions in Saudi Arabia

Several of the deportees who spoke to Human Rights Watch researchers said they developed chronic health problems in detention in Saudi, including persistent coughing. Some said they saw children detained with their relatives and other adults. One said he was detained with approximately 30 children who were in their young teens and who had no caregiver.

A health worker in Mogadishu told Human Rights Watch that she attended a one-year-old boy in a Mogadishu hospital for several weeks. The baby had been detained with his father for a month before being deported and was suffering from diarrhea, malnutrition, and anemia.

Saladu, 35, said the Saudi authorities detained her for nine days with her two children, ages seven and nine, and her sister’s three children before deporting them: “The room we stayed in with 150 other women and children was extremely hot and there was no air conditioning. The children were sick. My son was vomiting and his stomach was very bloated. There were no mattresses, people just slept on the floor.”

IOM publicly said that many of the deportees are in poor health because of their prolonged detention in substandard conditions before they were deported. Some had suffered physical and psychological trauma or had respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia. IOM noted that “a significant number may have been subjected to ill-treatment.”

An IOM representative told Human Rights Watch that it plans to set up a facility at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde airport to provide emergency medical assistance, non-food items such as blankets, and water to deportees, though the services had not begun as of February 17. UNHCR told Human Rights Watch that its staff would be working with IOM to identify those at greatest risk of harm in Somalia.

Deportations of Undocumented Migrants in Saudi Arabia

The mass deportations of Somalis in January followed Saudi Arabia’s deportation of at least 12,000 Somalis to Mogadishu in 2013 and thousands of others in 2012, according to UNHCR.

In November, Saudi officials resumed a campaign that had started in April but had been suspended shortly thereafter, to locate and deport foreign workers considered to be violating local labor laws, including workers from Somalia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan, and Yemen. The Saudi Interior Ministry announced on January 21 that it had deported more than 250,000 people since November.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 42 Yemeni workers deported from Saudi Arabia in November whose descriptions of detention conditions were similar to those of the Somali deportees. Most said there was overcrowding and insufficient food and drinkable water, and reported frequent beatings by prison guards. Five Ethiopian nationals told Human Rights Watch in November that thousands of foreign workers in Riyadh were held in makeshift detention facilities without adequate food and shelter before being deported.

Violence in Somalia

On January 17, UNHCR issued guidelines for factors countries should consider when assessing refugee claims by Somali nationals or other claims for protection based on international human rights law. On January 28, UNHCR issued a news release about the guidelines, appealing to all governments “to uphold their obligations” not to forcibly return anyone to Somalia unless they are convinced the person would not suffer persecution or other serious harm upon return.

UNHCR said that southern and central Somalia “remains a very dangerous place” and that it “consider[s] the options for Somalis to find protection from persecution or serious harm within Southern and Central Somalia to be limited.” The agency said that this “is especially true for large areas that remain under the control of Al-Shabaab,” which “prohibits the exercise of various types of freedoms and rights, especially affecting women” and uses “public whipping, amputation … and beheadings” as punishment.

UNHCR also said al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu that killed civilians had increased in 2013 and that the Somali authorities are “reported to be failing to provide much of [the] population with basic security.”

In March 2013 Human Rights Watch reported on sexual violence and other abuses against displaced persons living in Mogadishu’s internally displaced persons camps.

In January 2013 the Somali government announced plans to relocate tens of thousands of displaced people in Mogadishu. These plans stalled primarily due to the government’s inability to provide basic protection in the planned relocation sites. According to UNHCR, almost 60,000 people were displaced in Somalia in the first nine months of 2013, bringing the total number of displaced to 1.1 million.

A February 13, 2014, Human Rights Watch report documents high levels of rape and sexual abuse against women and girls in Mogadishu in 2013, particularly among displaced women who are attacked inside and near camps for displaced people.

In November UNHCR, Kenya, and Somalia signed a tri-partite agreement setting out procedures to be followed to assist Somalis wishing to return to Somalia. The agreement emphasized that the principle of nonrefoulement needed to be scrupulously respected. UNHCR’s January news release said neither the agreement nor UNHCR’s possible future assistance to help reintegrate voluntarily returning Somali nationals from Kenya should in any way imply that UNHCR believes that Somalia is safe for everyone. The agency reported that 42,000 Somalis fled their country to seek asylum worldwide in 2013.

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Saudi women keep fighting for their rights


This video is called SAUDI WOMEN IN Drive to get Behind the Wheel.

Saudi women activists have set a date for a new driving day on February 22, to challenge the government’s banning women from driving cars.

The confinement of four Saudi princesses is a reminder that the Gulf states are evil empires, especially if you are a woman: here.

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Saudi Arabia deports journalist to Somalia


This video is called Ethiopian immigrants sleeping on the streets in Saudi Arabia.

From Dalsan Radio (Mogadishu, Somalia):

Somalia: A Saudi Journalist Origin From Somalia Deported to Mogadishu, an Exclusive Interview With Radio Dalsan

14 January 2014

A Saudi born journalist but original from Somalia, Omar Osman has been deported from Saudi Arabia to Somalia in regards of allegation- after he twittered a misappropriate thing against the Saudi kingdom.

The 33 year old Osman, who’s the writer of AL-YOOM newspaper in Saudi Arabia for quite six good years, is now suffering despondently.

This deportation comes last Friday after he has been in jail for three months. In an interview with RADIO ALSAN Omar says:

“For the last three months I have been in jail. Then last week the internal security minster communicated with me, and told me that I have been illegally operating in Saudi Arabia. With no valid documents.

The minister told me in order to find an evidence, regarding your accusation we have done further investigation in cooporation with our security agencies,- we therefore dare to deport you to Somalia. After that they transported me to the immigration sector in the airport”.

Although it is his first time in Somalia, we visited him at his hotel in Mogadishu. Omar seem to be different because of the new faces, he hardly speaking broken Somali language with mixture of Arabic words. He told us his historical background with a long conversation. Omar says:

“I have valid documents. I was born in Riyadh the city in Saudi Arabia. 33 years now, I studied there from my primary school up to university. All my siblings are living there, I don’t have any family in Somalia” Omar quoted sadly.

In efforts from his family in Saudi Arabia is appealing to the government in order to return Omar back home.

Omar studied engineering then joined school of journalism where he has been working with different media organization in Saudi Arabia for the last decade.

Kenya: The Controversial Repatriation of Somali Refugees From Kenya: here.

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Saudi Arabian dinosaur discovery


This abelisaur tooth is evidence of the first carnivorous theropod dinosaur from Saudi Arabia. Credit: Maxim Leonov (Palaeontological Institute, Moscow)

From LiveScience:

First Dinosaur Fossils from Saudi Arabia Discovered

By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer

January 07, 2014 03:04pm ET

A plant-eating titanosaur and a sharp-toothed theropod are the first confirmed dinosaur fossils ever found in Saudi Arabia, scientists reported Dec. 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Dinosaur fossils are rare in the Arabian Peninsula; previous finds mainly include teeth and bone fragments of similar species from Jordan, Oman and Lebanon, the researchers report.

“This discovery is important not only because of where the remains were found, but also because of the fact that we can actually identify them,” Benjamin Kear, lead study author, said in a statement. “These are the first taxonomically recognizable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian Peninsula,” said Kear, a paleobiologist at Uppsala University in Sweden. [Photos: Amazing Dinosaur Fossils]

The 72-million-year-old fossils were discovered in the Adaffa formation, a pile of sandstone and conglomerates (pebble-rich rocks) deposited by streams and rivers during the Late Cretaceous Period. During this time, Arabia had not yet separated from Africa and was bounded on the east by the Tethys Ocean. Parts of Arabia were underwater when the bones were buried in the sand. (On earlier fossil hunts, Kear found Cretaceous marine fossils in Saudi Arabia, such as plesiosaurs and mosasaurs, sharks and turtles.)

Kear and his colleagues carefully excavated a sandstone outcrop of the Adaffa formation about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northeast of Al Khuraybah in Saudi Arabia. There, they discovered two theropod teeth and several vertebrae.

Distinctive patterns on the teeth helped the team link the chompers to carnivorous abelisaurs, a dinosaur family common in northern Africa at the time. Abelisaurs were bipedal, like T. rex, and grew to about 20 feet (6 meters) tall.

The vertebrae looked similar to those from titanosaurs, massive sauropods that lived on many continents, including Africa and South America. The species grew up to 65 feet (20 m) long.

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