Rights chief highlights Saudi Arabia’s moves to improve human rights situation

Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad
Updated 25 November 2019

Rights chief highlights Saudi Arabia’s moves to improve human rights situation

  • It provides an opportunity to defend, promote, and transform women’s rights into constructive dialogues

RIYADH: Women’s rights in the Kingdom have seen an unprecedented transformation, thanks to the historical decisions made under the leadership of King Salman, said Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) in his opening speech at a symposium on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

He explained that the day aimed to raise awareness about the magnitude of the multiple forms of violence women around the world are exposed to.

It provides an opportunity to defend, promote, and transform women’s rights into constructive dialogues, so that they may live in a better world.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has accorded high priority to women’s rights, affirmed Al-Awwad. Among over 60 recent decisions made to improve the situation of human rights in the Kingdom, 22 were related to women. 

These included issuing such laws as the Protection from Abuse Law and the Anti-Harassment Law, eliminating the guardianship system, allowing women to drive, ensuring greater female participation in the workforce, especially the legal sphere, dedicating a call center for domestic violence issues, establishing the Family Affairs Council (one of whose committees is devoted to women’s affairs) and setting up courts for family cases.

Violence against women was one of the most widespread, persistent and destructive human rights violations in the world, but that most of it remained unreported.

Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, President of Saudi Human Rights Commission

Al-Awwad confirmed none of this would have been possible without political will.

Women are the foundation of society, being the schools that shape future generations, instillers and upholders of good values handed down across generations, he said.

Al-Awwad also met with German Minister of State Niels Annen at the German Federal Foreign Office, where they reviewed issues related to human rights.

Al-Awwad highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts, under the leadership of the king and crown prince, in supporting human rights. He pointed to developments in the Kingdom and pioneering steps toward achieving sustainable development on making human beings the focus of development in accordance with Vision 2030, which aims to achieve the overall development of a better future for the country.

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Major Saudi research center prepares to take part in advanced COVID-19 vaccine trials

Updated 22 September 2020

Major Saudi research center prepares to take part in advanced COVID-19 vaccine trials

  • Ministry of Health and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center have been working with two Chinese drug companies

JEDDAH: King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) in Saudi Arabia is preparing to take part in advanced trials of one or two COVID-19 vaccines.

About 40 potential vaccines are being tested on humans, nine of which are at the advanced stage of clinical trials to evaluate their safety and effectiveness in protecting people against a virus that has infected more than 31 million people around the world.

The center confirmed its readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and participate in tests of one or two of the nine vaccines that are in the third phase of clinical trials, during which large-scale testing on humans takes place.

Dr. Naif Al-Harbi, the head of KAIMRC’s drug-development unit, told Al-Ekhbariya TV news channel that it is unprecedented to have nine vaccines in stage three of clinical trials so soon, less than a year, after the emergence of a new virus.

“Approval or disapproval of any drug normally follows the third stage of its clinical trials, which is the last stage,” he added. “Since the pandemic, KAIMRC has been in continuous contact with a number of drug companies in four countries (that are developing vaccines).”

KAIMRC has been working with one Chinese pharmaceutical company in particular to help evaluate and accelerate the development of its vaccine, he said.

“Over the past two months, we have been in contact with Sinovac to scientifically evaluate its product, in term of the tests on animals and a study of the results of stages one and two on humans,” Al-Harbi said.