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Al-Aiban: Saudi women’s empowerment continuing

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Time: March 08, 2019   

Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — The Human Rights Commission (HRC) Chairman Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban has said that Saudi Arabia is forging ahead in empowering Saudi women and enhancing their contribution to development. Protecting women’s rights and empowering them are among the fields receiving the lion’s share of reform and development under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

He pointed out this in a symposium on empowering women, organized on Thursday by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the UN Office in Riyadh. Minister of Civil Service Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society institutions, academics, several government authorities, and representatives of international organizations, among others attended the event.

Al-Aiban stressed that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 views women as important and effective partners. This is reflected in many programs and initiatives that raise the ceiling of ambitions on women’s participation in development and the economy.

He added that the state has provided a package of reforms and review of regulations to support and empower women.

Al-Aiban highlighted the measures taken by the Kingdom to protect women’s rights and empower them. These include the issuance of a royal order confirming that the concerned authorities should not ask women to obtain the approval of their guardians when they need a service or to complete some transaction. Women have occupied many important posts, and they have been empowered to occupy key decision-making roles in both the public and private sectors.

He referred to the appointment of Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US as a case in point.

Al-Aiban drew attention to the important development in the institutional sphere by setting up the Council for Women’s Affairs and allocating one of its committees to be in charge of women’s affairs, the issuance of the regulation protecting women from harassment, allocating a center for receiving reports on violence so as to ensure combating violence against women.

Within the sphere of enhancing freedom of movement for women, a royal order was issued approving implementing the rules for traffic regulations, including issuance of driving licenses to men and women equally.

Nathalie Fustier, UN resident coordinator for Saudi Arabia, appreciated the Kingdom’s effort in empowering women. She said, “The UN values and appreciates the Kingdom’s cooperation with the international mechanisms in the field of human rights in general, and women’s rights in particular.”

She pointed out the Kingdom has presented its third periodic report before the human rights council and its combined report to the committee to combat all forms of discrimination to women. “The UN appreciates the written replies by the Kingdom on the list of issues raised by working teams of international organizations and those at the human rights council,” Fustier said.

Fustier stressed, “The UN appreciates the legislative reforms introduced by the Kingdom to enhance women’s rights in recent years, specifically allowing issuance of driving licenses to women.”

“Not demanding women to request permission from their male guardian, so as to avail of services except in cases made conditional by law, protection and non-harassment of women are positive steps,” she added.

“The change in civil status law that gave women the right to get national identity cards, and the efforts of Kingdom to improve the institutional set up to speed up combating discrimination against women and enhancing equality between genders by adopting Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and 10th development plan that aim to empower women are laudable works,” Fustier said.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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