Saudi Arabia Is Taken to Task over Abuse of Rights
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Saudi Arabia was the target of severe attacks by critics who accuse the kingdom of jailing activists and dissidents without due process and abusing the basic rights of Saudi women and foreign workers.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say Saudi Arabia has a system that discriminates against women both through law and in practice, exposes migrant workers to abuse, puts activists and supporters of political reform at risk of arbitrary detention and unfair trials, and features torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
"Many countries have problematic records, but Saudi Arabia stands out for its extraordinarily high levels of repression and its failure to carry out its promises to the Human Rights Council," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement to the meeting, Reuters reported.
Saudi Arabia, which hosts 9 million foreign workers out of a total population of 28 million, was taking all steps needed to protect their rights and provide appropriate conditions, said Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission.
They included a ban on outdoor work in the heat between mid-day and 3 p.m. from June to August, when temperatures are usually higher than 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and can soar to 50 degrees.
Saudi women were full citizens able to dispose of their property and manage their affairs without seeking permission from anyone, he said.
Critics say women should be placed in positions of authority and the Saudi government should end the guardianship system.
The rules restrict women's legal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, property ownership and decision-making in the family, as well as choice of residency, education and jobs, UN experts have said previously.
The UN will release its final report on Monday's review in March.