Hajj made difficult for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia has prevented around 300 Palestinians, living in Iraq, from entering the country to perform Hajj.

    Palestinians have had difficulty trying to perform their Hajj

    The Palestinian pilgrims have been stuck at the Saudi-Iraqi borders for five days, as they have also been prevented from returning to Iraq, Palestinian sources told Aljazeera on Friday.

    "Around 300 Palestinian pilgrims, including women, children and old men, have been stuck at the Saudi-Iraqi borders for five days," one pilgrim said. 

    "Most of the pilgrims are ill, suffering shortages of food and medical supplies," he said. "Even the Saudi Red Crescent is not providing enough help," Mouin al-Sha’ban added. 

    "We have legally left Iraq, but Saudi authorities have barred us without reason from entering the country to perform Hajj," al-Sha'ban said.  

    It has been a difficult year for some Palestinians trying to perform Hajj.

    Barred from leaving Gaza

    Earlier in the month, between 360 386 Palestinians were barred from leaving the Gaza Strip by Israeli authorities.

    According to information gathered by the Palestine Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Israeli authorities provided the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs with a list of 386 pilgrims from the Gaza Strip, claiming that they would be prohibited from travelling to Saudi Arabia through Rafah Terminal for security reasons.

    The total number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip intending to travel for the Hajj this year is 6210, says the PCHR.
    The organisation adds that in 2003, Israeli authorities prevented 836 out of the 5500 pilgrims from the Gaza Strip from travelling to Saudi Arabia.

    In a statement, the PCHR, said "this denial of access to the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia represents a clear violation of the right to freedom of religion, as enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as numerous other provisions of international human rights and humanitarian law."

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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