Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Human Rights Commission calls on Friday sermons to support woman’s rights | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The most senior official in the Saudi Human Rights Commission (which falls under the jurisdiction of the Saudi Council of Ministers) called on the Saudi judiciary, and all other concerned parties, to investigate certain issues relating to women’s rights. These include preventing women from marrying the person of their choice, domestic violence, sexual harassment, as well as financial and legal issues relating to divorce and inheritance, in addition to other problems that Saudi women and families are facing.

President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission [SHRC], Dr. Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, called on scholars and sheikhs to play a special role in local mosques and acknowledge and deal with the serious issues being faced by women today. Dr. Al-Aiban is preparing plans that aim to spread awareness of human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, particularly women’s rights issues, which he stressed are a priority of the SHRC.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Dr. Al-Aiban said that the SHRC is currently exploring ways of dealing with human rights cases, either via governmental or private institutions, putting in place the mechanisms to deal with such issues. He also stressed that the SHRC is working to establish a culture of human rights at institutional level, establishing human rights workshops in various regions of Saudi Arabia to this effect. Dr. Al-Aiban revealed that 2,500 Saudi men and women are set to attend these human rights workshops that are currently taking place in six different regions of Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Al-Aiban also revealed that a selection of Saudi men and women, from different social backgrounds, have been chosen to attend these workshops, which will discuss the issue of human rights. He said that that “it is imperative to recall the decrees issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz…and the tasks he has given us, and so the members of the SHRC have sought to listen rather than talk, and this is why we wanted all members of society to have a presence at the workshops.” He added that “a huge part of the strategy of the SHRC, and the outcome of the success of our initiatives and projects, is based upon these workshops.”

Dr. Al-Aiban also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “scientific studies will be carried out to find out who our most high-risk citizens are, and what needs to be done to raise human rights awareness in this regard.”

He added that the SHRC believes there are certain human rights issues that predominately affect women, and thus it had decided that many of these workshops should be largely attended by Saudi women to discuss women’s rights issues. A number of special workshops have been set up to focus on such issues, including cases such as social isolation and the consequences of this.

Dr. Al-Aiban stressed that the SHRC has made women’s and children’s rights issues a priority, denying that they are only interested in listening to grievances and then addressing them in a direct manner. Dr. Al-Aiban told Asharq Al-Awsat that the SHRC has done everything in its power to enlighten women about their rights, and secure their participation in discussing such issues, in order to fulfill their hopes and aspirations.

He also revealed that last month the SHRC initiated a conference, attended by a number of human rights experts and women from different segments of society, to discuss women’s rights issues and put forward ideas and visions that reflect women’s concerns. Dr. Al-Aiban revealed that this conference had been a success, and that its results and recommendations will be put forward during a forthcoming symposium, which will aim to address a number of issues with regards to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Al-Aiban also told Asharq Al-Awsat that those currently participating in the human rights workshops taking place across Saudi Arabia will also play a role in drawing up the National Plan for Human Rights Education, which will be implemented by all concerned authorities and institutes, including the SHRC.