RIYADH: The ongoing demolition of dozens of neighbourhoods in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah to enable redevelopment is violating human rights standards through forced evictions and a lack of compensation for foreign residents, Amnesty International said.

The redevelopment plan is part of Vision 2030 launched by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to modernise Saudi Arabia’s economy and society, entailing rebuilding of old cities and erecting new ones from scratch.

More than half a million Jeddah residents are impacted by the demolition of over 60 neighbourhoods under the project, which began last October and has continued intermittently, Amnesty International said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Saudi authorities announced in January a package of services, including provision of free housing, for Saudi nationals “whose homes are being dismantled in the slums and undeveloped neighbourhoods” of Jeddah. Amnesty said the value of compensation was being set only after demolitions of buildings, and that the plan excluded foreign nationals who account for up to 47pc of the residents affected in Jeddah, a major Red Sea port and commercial centre.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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