Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Human Rights Societies Hold Turbulent First Meeting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The first meeting of its kind between Saudi Arabia’s two Human Rights organizations turned into spectacle with members trading accusations and criticisms.

Dr. Hamad al-Majid, member of the Saudi National Human Rights Society, launched an attack against a number of fellow members in the society to which he belongs, as well as his counterparts in the government-run Human Rights Commission.

He accused a large number of them of not understanding (the concept) of human rights.

This comes at a time when Dr. Bandar al-Hajjar, head of the National Human Rights Society, demanded that the concept of human rights be implanted in Saudi society and that society be educated on the principles of human rights in order to strengthen the concept in the mind of the common man. However, this idea was not welcomed by some, including Dr. al-Majid, who said: “there are a number of people working in the filed of human rights who need to be educated themselves about the principles of human rights before trying to educate the society.”

Zayd al-Hasan, a member in the government Human Rights Commission, disagreed with the entire proposal and stressed the need to focus attention on issues relating to human rights which are more pressing than process of enlightening and educating (the society on principles of human rights).

This meeting between the National Human Rights Society and the government Human Rights Commission was organized in an effort to find a unified committee comprising of members of the two sides in order to reach a common mechanism to protect human rights. One person attending the meeting said the possibility of establishing private human rights societies must be researched because of the increase in the number of population which will require more human rights societies.

Turki al-Sudayri, head of the government Human Rights Commission, accused many institutions of “managerial corruption” and said that many people who do not get a response from the government contact the Human Rights Commission to look into their cases. He said that at the same time it is the responsibility of the anti-managerial corruption commission to put an end to these problems which are on the rise. Al-Sudayri expressed sorrow that executive employees in government departments are not implementing the directives of the officials in these departments who responded quickly to the cases they received.