Saudi Arabia: A state of legislations and rights

February 11, 2021
Hamoud Abu Talib

WHILE discussing human rights in Saudi Arabia last Monday as the issue is raised outside the Kingdom every now and then, I wrote in my article: “The Kingdom, like any other country, does not claim that its human rights have reached perfection and it has an exemplary model, but at the same time, it is also working at an accelerated pace to promote and develop these rights.

The Kingdom presents its reports, backed by accomplished facts, to citizens as well as to the international human rights organizations that participate in it. What has been achieved in this field during the last several years is considered as a big and very important leap.

I would say this because I do know, as other observers know, that there have been ongoing efforts to develop many laws and legislations related to rights in all its aspects to keep pace with updates that include the life of society and meet its human rights needs and these are consistent with international human rights agreements and treaties to which the Kingdom is a party.

The pleasant surprise on the day I wrote my article was the Crown Prince’s announcement, introducing drafts of four major legislations. The proposed legislations are: Civil Status Law, Civil Transactions Law, Penal Law for Discretionary Penalties, and the Law of Evidence.

The Crown Prince said that these laws will represent a new wave of reforms that will contribute to the prediction of court rulings, and increase the level of integrity and efficiency of judicial institutions. He emphasized that Saudi Arabia has taken serious steps in the past few years toward developing its legislative environment. These steps include adopting new laws and reforming existing ones, which are meant to preserve rights, consolidate the principles of justice and transparency, protect human rights and achieve comprehensive and sustainable development.

We are, therefore, in a state that is experiencing a legislative and human rights renaissance just as it is experiencing a materialist modernization, because it is aware of the necessity of comprehensive and harmonious modernization. This is required due to the needs of society as well as to achieve its ambitious Vision and make it a state of institutions that are governed by legislations and laws in which there is no room for randomness and individual interpretations of jurisprudence.

Thus, the Kingdom’s answers to the innuendos over the human rights file are practical solutions to meet the needs of its citizens and not responses to dictates or pressures whatsoever.

February 11, 2021
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