Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- On March 2, 2008, the head of the Human Rights Commission, Turki Sudairi inaugurated the Saudi Human Rights Commission’s website that will now accept complaints submitted via email and offer various online services.
Dr. Zaid al Hussein, the vice president of the Commission’s board for journalists, explained that “Anybody can lodge a complaint via e-mail. However, before we proceed with the complaint, we will determine the credibility of the sender.”
According to Sudairi, the Human Rights Commission is facing problems with up to half of the cases that it deals with as a result of “the lack of rules to regulate the process of examining these complaints.”
The Human Rights Commission has resolved approximately 1,500 cases whilst only 20-30% of cases presented to it have been settled, explained Sudairi.
At a press conference after the inauguration of the Commission’s website Sudairi stated, “The cases in which the Commission intervened have been settled on a personal level and did not reach the level of documentation.” Cases that have been solved have been related to security, social, domestic and work issues.
The head of the Commission stated that the level of response from the Commission was yet to improve and that efforts should be doubled in this regard.
Turki Sudairi alluded to the possibility of women becoming board members of the Commission and referred to the failure to open a women-only office in the Saudi capital for “bureaucratic reasons.”
According to Sudairi, however, there is an active group of female workers who work in women-only environments at the Commission’s two offices in Dammam and Jeddah, in addition to other women who, through the Commission’s headquarters in Riyadh, submit reports on domestic cases at the request of the Commission itself.
Al Sudairi stated that the Human Rights Commission is on the verge of completing its first report.
The Commission is awaiting approval from the authorities of a public strategy that it has prepared to spread the culture of human rights in Saudi society, which is expected to come into effect soon according to Dr. Zaid al Hussein.
The website of the Human Rights Commission will conduct public opinion polls via interactive services, and the results, according to al Hussein, will be presented as statistics through the website.
The community will be able to communicate with representatives of the website via a “messenger” service in order to launch continuous dialogue between all parties, said Zaid al Hussein.
The official spokesman for the Human Rights Commission and board member Zuhair al Hareth told Asharq Al-Awsat that the organisation plans to establish a 24-hour emergency phone line for those involved in cases.