Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The official spokesman of the government sponsored National Human Rights Association [NHRA], told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kingdom absolutely rejects the “politicization” of international human rights reports issued by a number of human rights organizations or agencies working for Western governments.
Dr Zuhayr al-Harithi did not deny that a number of international reports have made a number of valid points that can benefit his country when dealing with human rights issues; he refused, however, the “politicization” of some reports.
According to the NHRA Vice President Dr Zayd al-Hussein the aims of his association, which were approved by the Saudi cabinet on 12 September 2005, are as follows, “Protecting and bolstering human rights in accordance with international standards as well as publicizing them and contributing to their upholding in accordance with Islamic Shariaa, in addition to making sure that it is the only government body that can give advise on human rights issues.”
The work of the NHRA is regulated by 19 articles. al-Hussein told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The Association has reviewed ‘thousands’ of cases that were brought before it since its birth, and that it has helped in resolving ‘most’ of them, or has advised concerned parties on how to resolve them correctly.”
According to Al-Hussein the NHRA adopted a “policy” to “increase human rights awareness and propose ways of spreading this awareness, as well as to organize conferences on human rights and participating in them locally and internationally in accordance with the procedure in force.”
In Saudi Arabia, there are only two human rights bodies, i.e. The NHRA, which is linked to the Saudi cabinet, and the National Society of Human Rights [NSHR], which is independent. According to Dr Salih al-Khathlan, head of the NSHR follow-up and Monitoring Committee, the latter has been trying for the past three years urging countries all over the world to take part in the commemoration of the Human Rights International Day by organizing conferences and forums that deal with hot and fundamental [human rights] issues.