Al-Awwad: Kingdom witnessed 90 historic human rights reforms

February 23, 2021
Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), speaking on Sunday at the 46th virtual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), speaking on Sunday at the 46th virtual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), said that Saudi Arabia has witnessed nearly 90 major human rights reforms over the past few years, and women’s rights constitute the largest share of these reforms.

These historic reforms are being implemented under the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and under the direct supervision and continuous follow-up of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. Al-Awwad made these remarks on Sunday in his speech at the 46th virtual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The HRC chief described these reforms as historic owing to its quality and its historical context, as well as the short period in which they were accomplished, saying that these reforms are fruits of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Referring to the legislative reforms announced by the Crown Prince on Feb. 8, Al-Awwad emphasized that it represents a historic reform and a qualitative leap in the process of justice, sovereignty of law and human rights.

“The realm of women’s rights has received the largest share of reforms and developments in the field of human rights in the Kingdom.”

He also referred to the Juvenile Law issued in 2018, and the qualitative development it represents in the field of children’s rights, and the royal order to halt death sentences for persons who committed crimes under the age of 18 before the issuance of the Juvenile Law and its implementation.

Al-Awwad stated that the world has witnessed and is still witnessing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people, and negatively affected the rights of many of the people due to the economic and social repercussions that accompanied it.

“The government of Saudi Arabia has taken many measures that have contributed to combating the pandemic and restricting its effects. The government gives first priority to the human being in every consideration, and offers the finest examples of applying the principle of complementarity and indivisibility of human rights,” he pointed out.

Al-Awwad emphasized that the Kingdom stands, heart and soul, to support stability and peace in Yemen, by confronting the terrorist Houthi militia, supported financially and militarily by Iran, while noting that the militia has so far fired hundreds of ballistic missiles and drones towards the Kingdom.

He reiterated the Kingdom’s firm position on the Palestinian issue, which supports the right of the Palestinian people to fully obtain their legitimate rights and establish their independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also referred to the human rights violations and ethnic discrimination suffered by the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

Al-Awwad stressed that the Kingdom is moving forward towards achieving the best levels in the promotion and protection of human rights that are based on its established values, the will of its leadership, and the authenticity of its people.

“The Kingdom rejects the politicization of human rights issues, the selectivity in dealing with it, and its exploitation in any way.”

He called on the Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and all United Nations bodies and mechanisms, to adhere to the principles of neutrality, objectivity and non-selectivity, as well as to respect the cultural diversity of societies around the world.

The HRC chief also underlined the need to confront attempts to impose the hegemony of a particular culture, which collide with the values of societies, in order to reinforce the principle of the universality of human rights, which should accommodate the common denominators between civilizations and cultures, especially those that represent an enrichment and addition to human rights.

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