Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Women Encouraged to Address Wide Issues in Society

Publication Date: 
March 11, 2011
Arab News

RIYADH: The women's wing of the Human Rights Commission recently met with women consultants at the Shoura Council to exchange views on social development issues.

Social activist May Al-Issa, who was one of the consultants to attend the meeting, called on society to refrain from emphasizing women's issues and rights excessively, pointing out that it could alienate society further.

Saudi Arabia: Away from the cities, women take to the roads

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2011
The Jerusalem Post

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Whenever Hawazen Ebrahim’s family spends an evening picnicking in the desert outside of Medina, it’s her job to jump into the car and drive to the nearest village to load up on extra supplies. During the week, she is responsible for taking the kids to school and picking them up each day.

Ebrahim, 25, doesn’t consider herself an outlaw, nor is she protesting Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving. She does what many Saudi women do in rural villages throughout the kingdom and drives as part of the everyday responsibilities of managing a household.

Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Commission Speaks Against Marriage of Minors

Publication Date: 
October 8, 2010
Saudi Gazette

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called upon individuals, civil groups and the media to stand against the marriage of minors, describing the marriage of young girls to older males as a “violation of children’s rights found in the Convention on the Rights of the Child of which the Kingdom is a signatory”.

The government-affiliated HRC said in a press statement Wednesday that it was in the process of drawing up a legal framework to protect against the abuse of underage girls’ rights.

Saudi Arabia: Cleric calls for Muslim maids only

Publication Date: 
July 27, 2010
Agence France Presse

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—A Saudi cleric said only Muslim housemaids should be allowed in the oil-rich country and they should be kept segregated from men in the home, an online news site reported on Tuesday.

"If there is a need to import workers as female domestics, they should be Muslims," Sheikh Yusef al-Ahmad, a strong opponent of men and women mixing in the ultra-conservative kingdom, told the website.

He also said female domestics should cover themselves in the home, and that, following Islamic requirements for Saudi women, they should also be required to have a male relative guardian, or mahram, with them in Saudi Arabia.

"They should be required to work in the home covered with the hijab (veil), and not mix with men in the home, not enter their rooms or the hall or serve them," he said.

Saudi Arabia: Issues of Marrying Abroad + Unmarried Saudi Women

Publication Date: 
July 10, 2010
Khaleej Times

JEDDAH - A summer programme is to be launched to educate young Saudis about the risks of entering into marriage abroad, according to Dr Tawfiq Al Suwailam, chairman of the Society for the Welfare of Saudi Families Abroad (Awasir).

Recently, the society warned Saudis against marrying foreigners.

“There are several difficulties faced by Saudi children living abroad, such as social, economic, education and health problems. Sometimes the father simply vanishes from the scene and leaves the children with their mothers,” he said.

“We help such children by finding and certifying documents attesting to the legality of the marriage and also by helping the children to return to the kingdom and to integrate socially, so that they can become effective and productive citizens,” he added.

Talk of Women’s Rights Divides Saudi Arabia

Publication Date: 
May 31, 2010
New York Times
Photo: New York Times

JIDDA — Roughly two years ago, Rowdha Yousef began to notice a disturbing trend: Saudi women like herself were beginning to organize campaigns for greater personal freedoms.

Saudi Arabia: MTV youths may face trial

Publication Date: 
June 2, 2010
The Scotsman

SAUDI Arabia's religious police are trying to bring to court three Saudi youths for challenging the kingdom's austere lifestyle on an MTV reality show.

Saudi Arabia: Women’s Rights Gain Focus

Publication Date: 
May 12, 2010
Carnegie Foundation for International Peace Arab Reform Bulletin
Credit: Arab Reform Bulletin

After years of stymied efforts, the reform focus in Saudi Arabia is centering on women’s rights. A recent survey by the Researchers Center for Women’s Studies in Riyadh () examining Saudi newspapers and websites showed that from mid January to mid February 2010 some 40 percent of articles in print media and 58 percent of articles on websites treated women’s issues. Empowering women has become a priority for local activists and various initiatives are springing up to secure their basic rights. The most recent and ambitious of these efforts is a national campaign, driven by local actors, calling for women’s participation in municipal elections scheduled for autumn 2011.

Saudi Arabia: 12 Year Old Girl Granted Forced Marriage Divorce from Husband 80

Publication Date: 
April 22, 2010
Times Online
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noted efforts to improve human rights in Saudi Arabia

A girl aged 12 has won a divorce from her 80-year-old husband in Saudi Arabia in a case that may help to introduce a minimum age of marriage in the kingdom for the first time. The girl’s unusual legal challenge to the arrangement generated international media attention and scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s record of child marriages.

It also prompted the state-run Human Rights Commission to appoint a lawyer to represent her. The commission has capitalised on the case and pushed for a legal minimum age for marriage of at least 16.

Three committees have been assembled to examine the possibility. Medical experts, child psychologists, social workers and scholars in Islamic law will debate the issue over the coming months before submitting their recommendations to a public hearing.

Press Release: An Influential Saudi Cleric Calls for Beheading of Apostates

Washington, DC (February 24, 2010). The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia unequivocally denounces Shaikh Abdulrahman Al-Barrak call for the beheading of those who initiate or accept gender mingling in schools or in the work place. “They should be given one chance to repent, but if they do not, they should be considered apostate and beheaded,” Al-Barrak said.