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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Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 1 min 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”