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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Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 28 February 2020

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

FASTFACTS

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.

 

Disinfection

The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.