Saudi Arabia

Today the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009.  The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year. The report reviews the most significant developments in human rights during 2009 in 12 Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen. It also devotes separate chapters to the Arab League and an analysis of the performance of Arab governments in UN human rights institutions.

On 6 December 2009, blogger and human rights defender, Mr Ra’if Badawi, was stopped at Jeddah airport and prevented from travelling to Beirut. No official explanation was given for the travel ban or its time limit; however, it is believed that it is related to charges brought against Ra’if Badawi in relation to a website he set up, in which he has criticized the religious police for violations of human rights.

In the Middle East and North Africa, where political change occurs slowly, blogging has becomes a serious medium for social and political commentary as well as a target of government suppression, writes Mohamed Abdel Dayem. Before the June presidential election, the Iranian government blocked access to more than a dozen social networking sites and online news sources perceived as favoring opposition candidates. Hours before polls opened, SMS, or short message service for mobile phones, was disrupted and remained offline for weeks. The day after the election, the government shut down mobile phone service for an entire day.

The cassation court in Mecca should overturn the death sentence imposed on Ali Sabat by a lower court in Medina on November 9 for practicing witchcraft, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the Saudi government to cease its increasing use of charges of “witchcraft,” crimes that are vaguely defined and arbitrarily used.

You can read and download the Political Islam on Line article by Raouf Ebeid here

يدعو التحالف الإقليمي في كل من الأردن ومصر ولبنان وفلسطين لإجراء تعديلات جذرية على قانون الأحوال الشخصية، تفضي إلى قانون الأسرة العربية ، يحمي حقوق الأطفال والنساء والرجال والأسرة.وتهدف الحملة الإقليمية، التي تنفذ في البلدان الأربعة ويقودها التحالف، إلى تعديل بعض نصوص قوانين الأحوال الشخصية في الدول المشاركة بالتحالف، على أساس أن المساواة حق أساسي لجميع المواطنين والمواطنات على حد سواء، بصرف النظر.

We cannot deny the fact that female university graduates need work and a source of income, not to mention their need to gain the moral satisfaction that comes with employment. Otherwise, there would be no point in arduous study, going and coming from university and paying university fees if it would only lead to young women staying at home for fighting over jobs leftover for women. Why then give them an education in the first place?

Recently, Saudi women activists, led by Saudi Princess Jawaher bint Jalawi, launched a campaign called "My Guardian Knows What's Best For Me," calling for redefining the term "guardian" and for opposing calls by those with liberal views to improve the status of women in Saudi Arabia. Princess Jawaher's campaign is a response to the struggle launched in July 2009 by Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huweidar calling for abolishing the mahram ("guardian") law, which requires women to obtain the approval of a male relative for nearly any move they make in their lives.
On 25 August the court of Al-Shamli, north of Hail, found Mrs Khamisa Sawadi guilty of the charge of "khilwa" (mingling with two young men to whom she was not immediately related), and the higher court in Riyadh ratified their verdict. One of the two young men who was tried alongside Sawadi may face additional charges for filing a law suit against the religious police. This is in spite of the fact that in May the Court of Cassation refused to ratify the verdict and returned the case to Al-Shamli court with several observations on the previous verdict, including the rejection of her breastfeeding claim and the fact that she is old.
According to a press release issued by Nepalese Embassy in Saudi Arabia on Jul. 12 housemaids are sometimes sold from one master to another if they aren't satisfied with them. "Majority of these women are raped, sexually and physically assaulted."
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