SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia to adopt national anti-discrimination policy soon

March 10, 2021

By Anas Alyusuf

Saudi Gazette


JEDDAH — The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development is working on a national anti-discrimination policy that will be adopted in the near future, Saudi Gazette has learned from well-informed sources.

According to the sources, the policy, which bans all forms of discrimination, is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. “The policy is in the final phases of its formulation and it will be accorded approval shortly,” the sources said.


The relevant authorities in the Kingdom recently worked out a mechanism for reporting and inspection pertaining to practices of discrimination at workplaces.

The ministry also strives to prevent gender discrimination in the payment of monthly salaries or advertisements for jobs.


The ministry had recently stressed that citizens have equal rights to work without any discrimination on the basis of gender or any other forms of discrimination, whether at the workplace or when hiring or advertising.

The ministry’s unequivocal clarification came in a response to a query via the ministry’s Customer Care account on Twitter after a company published an advertisement for men-only jobs.

“The advertisement was in contravention of Article 3 of the Labor Law,” the ministry said while emphasizing that work is the right of every citizen and that no one is entitled to engage in any practice that violates this regulation without fulfilling the conditions stipulated in the Labor Law.


The ministry also seeks to regulate the employment market by issuing and updating rules that are related to the work environment in the public and private sectors, and that is in a way keeping pace with developments in the local labor market.

It is noteworthy that the Human Rights Commission (HRC) had recommended earlier the enactment of a law criminalizing racial discrimination. This will be the culmination of the provisions of Saudi laws prohibiting the practice of all forms of discrimination, as well as promoting a culture of tolerance, respect for human rights, and preserving national cohesion. The commission emphasized that the Islamic Shariah make it mandatory that justice and equality shall be the guiding principle in all rights and duties of people.

The state has also given the issue of racial discrimination the necessary consideration through the enactment of many regulations and legislation. Article 8 of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates that the “Governance in Saudi Arabia is based on justice, consultation and equality in accordance with the Islamic Shariah” while Article 47 of the law guarantees equality before the judiciary for all without any discrimination.


Article 1 of the Civil Service Law stipulates that “merit is the basis for choosing employees to hold public offices”, and Article 3 of the Labor Law stipulates that citizens are equal in the right to work.

With the Kingdom’s accession to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, it has become an integral part of the Saudi laws and it enjoys the same legal authority as that of the Kingdom’s laws.


March 10, 2021
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