13 women appointed to Saudi Human Rights Commission

Time: 03 July, 2020

King Salman issued the order. (SPA)
  • The move is in line with efforts made by the Kingdom’s leadership to enable women to occupy leading positions in various fields

RIYADH: Thirteen women have been appointed to the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) under a royal decree issued by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
The appointments mean half the positions on the commission’s council will be occupied by women — a major step in furthering women’s empowerment in the country.
“Appointing 13 women as members of the HRC council, with a total of 26 members, is in line with efforts made by the Kingdom’s leadership to enable women to occupy leading positions in various fields, and helps achieve what is best for the country,” said Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, head of the HRC.
He thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for issuing the royal decree to form the commission’s council in its fourth session for a period of 4 years.
Al-Awwad said that the Saudi leadership’s support and guidance had a great impact on the HRC mission to promote and consolidate human rights principles for the benefit of Saudis and expats.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has completed a comprehensive four-part training program for 350 participants from all 13 of the Kingdom’s regions involved in collecting and managing data on crimes involving people trafficking.
The program is the latest in a comprehensive series of training initiatives that followed the establishment in March of the Kingdom’s first National Referral Mechanism, a framework to identify and support potential victims of people trafficking.
Almost a dozen Saudi ministries and authorities, as well as other government and non-government bodies, are involved in the initiative.
Sarah Al-Tamimi, NCCHT’s vice-chair, said: “The completion of this phase of training is part of a holistic agenda that tackles people trafficking from a diversity of angles. We are committed to combating this abominable crime and protecting everyone, without exception, in the Kingdom.”
He added: “This is a crime that knows no borders and requires all of us to work together toward its eradication.”
Judge Hatem Fouad, UNODC representative for the Gulf region, said: “Our partnership with the Kingdom reflects the reality of the complex, international and multifaceted fight against trafficking in persons.
“I thank the committee members and vice-chair Sarah Al-Tamimi for their fruitful cooperation, and I thank the participants of the training sessions for continuing to improve the Kingdom’s anti-trafficking response,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman: Saudi Arabia will overcome coronavirus with ‘resolve and positivity’

25/05/20

RIYADH: King Salman said on Sunday that he “sees hope in the coming days” in a message to mark Eid Al-Fitr.

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, he said that Saudi Arabia will overcome “all calamity” through resolve and positivity.

The king also thanked God for the blessing of Eid Al-Fitr, a celebration marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Muslims around the world on Sunday began celebrating Eid with millions under strict stay-at-home orders and many fearing renewed coronavirus outbreaks.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Citizens and residents’ health and safety top concern: King Salman

24/05/20

  • King Salman addressed Saudi residents and the Muslim world on eve of Eid Al-Fitr
  • He thanked Saudi citizens and residents for their adherence to the instructions for social distancing

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Saturday that the health and safety of the Kingdom’s residents and citizens is of top concern.

“The world is facing an unprecedented health pandemic,” the king said in a speech on Eid Al-Fitr to Saudi citizens, residents and Muslims everywhere, offering his good wishes to mark the arrival of the annual celebration amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The speech, delivered by acting Minister of Media Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr after maghrib prayers, came at a time when Saudi Arabia and the world are witnessing an unprecedented health and economic crisis.

King Salman thanked the residents for their commitment during these difficult times. They are celebrating the Muslim holiday at home, many of them unable to enjoy it with their families under the stay-at-home restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic.

In his speech, King Salman called upon the whole community to understand these special circumstances, where Muslims are prevented from performing Eid prayers and exchanging visits, and he reaffirmed that the safety and health of all is a top priority.

“I greatly appreciate your commitment in spending Eid Al-Fitr in your homes, consciously and responsibly, respecting social distancing procedures and sending Eid congratulations through electronic communications and correspondence. All these measures are for the sake of your safety, as nothing is more important than good health.”

The speech is a major boost for morale, as the King thanked hundreds of thousands of health workers and others from all sectors who are working day and night in response to the pandemic and doing all that they can to provide citizens with the support they need. With the efforts made by Saudi Arabia’s government and the compliance of its residents, great strides have been taken.

Saudi Arabia has made every effort to combat the pandemic and to mitigate its effects. The Kingdom has also provided generous aid to the World Health Organization (WHO) in support of its efforts to confront the pandemic.”

King Salman also addressed in his speech the role Saudi Arabia plays on a global scale and its duty towards humanity when, as chair of the G20, it called an extraordinary summit of G20 members to discuss the health, economic and social impact of the pandemic and to develop an action plan in response to the outbreak.

“The Kingdom will spare no effort to bring good to humanity in this particular pandemic, and in all aspects of life.”

Saudi Arabia announced 2,442 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, the majority of which recorded in Riyadh at 794.

It also announced 2,233 new recoveries and 15 deaths.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi king orders release of $493 million in ‘Ramadan Aid’ to social security beneficiaries

Time: 11 May, 2020

Saudi King Salman. (SPA file photo)

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered the disbursement of 1.85 billion riyals ($492.6 million) in “Ramadan aid” to social security beneficiaries of Saudi Arabia.

Providers of families will get 1,000 riyals each while family members will get 500 riyals each, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Arabia has also been distributing Ramadan meals to the needy in various countries.

In Yemen, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has stepped up its humanitarian and relief aid amid the raging coronavirus pandemic.

This article was first published in Arab News

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With only 11 tweets, King Salman has more retweets than Trump

Time: April 29, 2020

US President Donald Trump is by far the most followed world leader on Twitter, with the Pope trailing him by some 4.5 million followers, a study showed Tuesday.

The number of Trump’s followers has “more than doubled since taking office”, the study authors said.

However, in terms of retweets alone, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, easily dwarfs Trump.

King Salman only tweeted 11 times between May 2017 and May 2018, but each of those tweets generated an average of 154,294 retweets, compared to just 20,319 retweets per Trump tweet, the study showed.

With more than 52 million followers, the @realDonaldTrump account also counts nearly 10 million more followers than third-place holder, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the latest “Twiplomacy” study by communications firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW).

In terms of interactions with followers – in the form of likes and retweets – Trump’s lead is even more impressive, the study showed.

Over the past 12 months, the US president has had nearly 264.5 million interactions with his followers – more than five times more than runner-up Modi, and 12 times as many as Pope Francis, in third place.

It also pointed out that the US State Department is the only US governmental department which does not follow the personal account of @realDonaldTrump.

At the same time, however, the State Department does follow the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Tuesday’s report found that leaders around the world have jumped on the Twitter train, with the governments of only six countries – Laos, Mauritania, Nicaragua, North Korea, Swaziland and Turkmenistan – still lacking an official presence on the platform.

In Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May was the most followed leader on Twitter over the past year, with the @10DowningStreet account counting nearly 5.6 million followers.

The British royal family came next with 3.6 million, followed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has nearly tripled his numbers since his election last year to over three million Twitter followers.

Queen Rania of Jordan ranks at the top of the twittersphere among Arab leaders with nearly 10.7 million followers, ahead of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed with over nine million followers, and King Salman on nearly seven million.

And Latin American governments are among the most prolific on twitter. Venezuela’s foreign ministry sends out an average of 55 tweets each day over the past 12 months, according to the study.

While most world leaders and governments are growing their Twitter followings, there are exceptions.

According to the study, Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian foreign ministry, and the Ukrainian foreign ministry have seen their number of followers decline significantly “after Twitter decided to cut down on fake followers and bot farms”.

BCW’s own review of 951 Twitter accounts showed that 125 of them, or 13 per cent, were currently dormant, 33 inactive and nine protected.

This article was first published in Khaleej Times

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King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

30/03/20

King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

  • Royal order applicable to government and private health facilities

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom’s health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents – even those in violation of residency laws.

Fahad Nazer فهد ناظر

@KSAEmbassySpox

In accordance with a royal order from His Majesty King Salman, Minister of Health says all citizens and residents in the kingdom – including those in violation of residency laws- will receive Coronavirus related medical care free of charge. https://twitter.com/KSAMOFA/status/1244595967527182336 

وزارة الخارجية 🇸🇦

@KSAMOFA

بأمر #خادم_الحرمين_الشريفين

تقديم الرعاية الصحية من الدولة فيما يخص #كورونا بالمستشفيات العامة والخاصة يشمل مخالفي أنظمة الإقامة والعمل وأمن الحدود وعدم معاقبتهم بشرط الإفصاح والفحص

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Al-Rabiah said the royal order was borne out of the king’s keenness to put the health of citizens and residents first and to ensure the safety of all.

The number of virus victims in Saudi Arabia reached 1,453 on Monday, with 8 confirmed deaths and 115 recoveries.

The president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, thanked King Salman for the directive.

“This reflects the human and moral approach the Kingdom is adopting in dealing with this pandemic,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia “is keen to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment according to the highest medical standards without discrimination.”

He added: “This gives the most striking example in preserving human rights and dignity as everyone, whether citizen or resident, should enjoy health and safety, including violators of the residency system.”

This move, he said, clearly reflects the Kingdom’s approach based on respecting and promoting human rights on the ground.

“This shows that the most valuable asset for Saudi Arabia is the human being, thereby guaranteeing a decent and healthy living, the foremost right of everyone.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to chair extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders

Time: 25 March, 2020

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will chair an extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders on March 26 to advance the global coordinated response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (SPA)
  • Heads of state of Jordan, Spain, Singapore and Switzerland will also participate

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will chair an extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders on March 26 to advance the global coordinated response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As well as the leaders of the G20 group, the heads of state of Jordan, Spain, Singapore and Switzerland will also participate in the summit.

In its capacity as sitting president of the Gulf Cooperation Council states, the UAE will participate as well.

G20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed during a separate video conference this week to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession.

The Kingdom, which holds the G20 presidency this year, called last week for the leaders to speak by video-conference.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman orders $10m payment to WHO to aid fight against coronavirus

10/03/20

  • WHO welcome donation by King Salman as fight against coronavirus continues
  • Four new cases of coronavirus identified in the Kingdom as schools and colleges close

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued on Monday a directive ordering the donation of $10 million to support the World Health Organisation’s  (WHO) efforts to fight coronavirus.

Saudi authorities also on Monday said nine new coronavirus cases had been identified, adding that it was suspending travel by air and sea between the Kingdom and 14 countries to prevent the spread of the disease.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working together to combat novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” a joint statement read.

“In support of this effort, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has provided $10 million to the World Health Organization for the implementation of urgent measures to minimize the spread of the disease and to support countries with vulnerable health infrastructures.”

And Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO said the organization “greatly appreciates this generous humanitarian gesture from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which will contribute significantly to efforts to safeguard global health.”

The Ministry of Health said the new cases were four Saudi nationals, two Bahrainis, an American and an Egyptian.

Meanwhile it was also announced on Monday that people who failed to declare correct health-related information at entry points would face fines of up to $133,000.

Earlier state news agency SPA reported that the authorities were suspending travel for Saudi citizens and foreign residents to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Italy and South Korea.

Oman, France, Germany and Spain were added later on Monday.

People travelling from those countries or anyone who has been there in the past 14 days would also be temporarily banned from entering the Kingdom.

The discovery of the four new cases brings the total number of those confirmed to have the virus in the Kingdom to 15.

Previously on Sunday, the health ministry said four cases had been confirmed in Qatif, raising the total to 11 cases.

A statement by the Saudi health ministry said the first case was a Saudi citizen, related to a previous case in Qatif. The patient is now isolated in hospital.

Two of the other patients are Bahraini women who had traveled from Iraq on their way to Bahrain. They were also isolated in a hospital in Qatif.

The fourth case was a US national returning to the Kingdom after traveling to the Philippines and Italy. That patient was sent to an isolation unit in a hospital in Riyadh.

Last week, the Kingdom stopped the entry into the Kingdom of travelers by land transportation from Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait.

Only commercial vehicles are allowed. People traveling into the Kingdom from these countries were told to board flights only through the three major airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam where they can be checked by health authorities.

In Riyadh the Riyadh Boulevard and Winter Wonderland were closed this week due to increased concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

And the Saudi Ministry of Education said Sunday that schools and universities would be closed from Monday as part of “preventive and precautionary” measures recommended by health authorities.

The decision covers all educational institutions – public and private – and technical and vocational training institutions.

Also suspended from Monday are all educational and Quranic activities at mosques.

The Ministry of Interior said Sunday that it would limit of movement top and from the governorate of Qatif, to prevent the virus from spreading.

The initial 11 cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom were all residents in Qatif, located in the Eastern Province. Some of them were said to have travelled to Iran, one of the worst hit countries by coronavirus.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman meets UK foreign secretary

Time: 06 March, 2020

King Salman receives UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab in Riyadh on Thursday Mar.5, 2020. (SPA)
  • The meeting was attended by Saudi ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan

RIYADH: King Salman received UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab in Riyadh on Thursday.
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries, ways of enhancing them, and the latest overall regional and international issues of common interest.
The meeting was attended by Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the UK; Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, minister of interior; Prince Faisal bin Farhan, minister of foreign affairs; Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, minister of state; the UK Ambassador to the Kingdom Neil Crompton, and a number of other officials.

Raab was also received by Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman. The pair discussed Saudi-British strategic partnership and ways to strengthen bilateral ties.

Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان
@kbsalsaud

Discussed with @DominicRaab our strategic partnership and ways to strengthen our bilateral ties, in addition to challenges in the region and issues of mutual interest.

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This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman meets Mauritanian president

Time: 27 February, 2020

King Salman welcomes Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)

RIYADH: King Salman received Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani in Riyadh on Wednesday.

They discussed ways to develop and strengthen bilateral relations, especially in the economic and investment fields, as well as the latest regional developments. Later, the king hosted a luncheon in honor of the president and his accompanying delegation.

The king and Ghazouani also witnessed the signing ceremony of four agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries. They include cultural cooperation, civil service, and vocational and technical training.

On the Saudi side, the ceremony was attended by State Minister Prince Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, among other officials. Mauritanian officials also attended.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Mauritania in December 2018, bolstering relations and renewing support for the country’s development efforts.

He expressed his “great satisfaction at the depth of the fraternal relations between the two brotherly peoples.”

Also on Wednesday, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune arrived in Riyadh. At King Khalid International Airport, he was received by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and a number of officials.

This article was first published in Arab News

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