Saudi Arabia is committed ‘to promote, protect human rights’

Third Secretary in the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN Mohammed Bin Essam Khashan, addresses the UN's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee. — SPA

NEW YORK — Saudi Arabia has stressed its commitment to enhance and protect human rights and to cooperate with the United Nations, the international community and world organizations and bodies in this regard. The Kingdom also seeks to contribute to the promotion of human rights in accordance with the distinguishing qualities of the Saudi people, Third Secretary in the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN Mohammed Bin Essam Khashan, has said.

In a key speech before the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee of the United Nations, Khashan shed light on the subject of enhancement and protection of human rights as well as other issues concerning empowerment of Saudi women and protection of their rights. Khashan said the Kingdom was witnessing huge developments in the human rights field in general and women’s rights and empowerment in particular. In this regard, the regulatory and institutional frameworks have also included the principles of enhancing the protection of human rights, starting with their constitutional values and principles.

He stressed that the Kingdom is protecting these rights in line with the Islamic Shariah, international charters and the related agreements.

Khashan further said that on this basis, the Kingdom’s laws, regulations, institutions, and means of achieving fairness and justice have been brought together to form a legal and institutional framework that will enhance and protect human rights.

These regulations have, in letter and spirit, dealt with the right to security, health, work, mother and child rights, the rights of disabled and old people, the right to development, enhancing participation in political and public life, forming and supporting societies, and many other socio-economic rights.

“Recently, the Kingdom approved new amendments in the travel documents regulation which stipulates treating a man and a woman equally in terms of the conditions for obtaining passports,” Khashan said.

Several amendments were introduced in the Civil Status regulation, most important of which is granting the husband or wife, on an equal footing, the right to apply for a family register from the Civil Status Administration.

Several amendments have also been introduced in the labor regulation to ensure equality between man and woman in rights and duties, and conditions for joining the Civil Service. In this connection, Article Three confirmed that work is the right of every citizen and it is impermissible to discriminate on the basis of sex.

A man and a woman are treated equally in terms of retirement age, which is 60 years. The amendments have also forbidden terminating the services of a female worker, or issuing her a termination notice during pregnancy or while she is availing of her maternity leave. This also includes the period of sickness ensuing from any of the two. — SPA