1. PACE Calls on the Saudi Government to Revoke Alstom Contract in al-Haramain Rail Project
27th June 2009
PACE regards with utter consternation the apparent disregard and apathy of the Saudi government towards objections to the participation of the French company Alstom in the Haramain railway project linking the two holiest sites of Islam, Makkah and Madinah. While many groups have called upon the Saudi government to drop Alstom from the Al-Rajhi Alliance consortium awarded the lucrative 6.8 billion riyal contract, the Saudi government continues to violate its obligations under an Arab League resolution barring all member states from engaging companies involved in the construction of the Jerusalem Light Rail linking illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory with the city of Jerusalem. Alstom is a 20% stakeholder in Citypass consortium that has been contracted by Israel to build the rail link.
PACE notes that across the world, while the divestment campaign directed at Alstom and other companies involved in human rights violations in the Palestinian occupied territory is gaining momentum and beginning to record victories in countries such as France and Sweden, the Saudi government even continues to expand its commercial links with other Alstom operating units. The state-owned Saudi Electricity Company is continuing to build a new 1200 MW steam power plant in Shoaiba with Alstom. PACE calls upon the Saudi government and corporations not to treat the suffering of the Palestinians with such contempt and exhibit greater leadership by showing solidarity with the global movement to hold international companies complicit in human rights violations to account.
PACE calls on all citizens to desist from involvement in projects involving Alstom and its partner companies such as Veolia in any capacity and to continue to pressure the Saudi government by writing directly to the authorities at their diplomatic representations worldwide, sign online petitions and write to local media as well as participate in boycott, divestment and sanctions action of Israel.
Lastly, PACE calls upon Muslim scholars to issue a religious edict on the participation of Alstom in the Haramain railway project.
Muhammad Tahir Ali
PACE (Palestine Centre of Excellence)