UN Human Rights Council Urges Saudi Arabia to Give Women Rights
Monday, February 23, 2009 10:47 AM

At a recent meeting of the United Nations Human Rights council, Saudi Arabia was pushed to more proactively work to end the prevalent human rights violations in the country, especially those against women and children. 


Britain, Switzerland, Canada, and Israel all criticized the country’s current practices which allegedly include “severe discrimination against women and minorities, corporal punishment, torture, forced labor, and the sexual exploitation of children."  (Cited from Reuters, 2/6/09   The Saudi delegation responded that their country was working to combat domestic violence.  


According to Human Rights Watch, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are limited in several areas, including marriage rights, freedom to travel, property ownership, education, and work.  Despite laws being introduced, little has been done by way of implementation or enforcement of these rights in Saudi Arabia. 


This is not the first time that the pervasive nature of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia has been noticed.  Prior to the Council’s review, Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Director, stated that “The international community should ensure that its review of Saudi Arabia does not just produce more promises, leaving the Saudi People empty-handed.… The Saudi reply to inquiries about rights violations or legal developments is typically total silence.”  (Cited from Human Rights Watch, 2/4/09


Compiled from:  Reuters, 2/6/09; Human Rights Watch Press Release, 2/4/09; Feminist Daily News Wire, 2/9/09, Feminist Majority Foundation.