Today is the birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!
The President of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi-Arabia, Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban said in a statement today: “On the occasion of the World’s Human Rights Day, the Kingdom continues to promote and protect the values and principles of human rights at all levels“.
That is a pretty bold statement coming from the representative of a country that basically violates the majority of the articles in the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
There are 30 articles on the declaration, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10th December 1948. Here are the articles and some examples I added from recent news how human rights are violated in modern day Saudi-Arabia. Notice majority are concerning women.
- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Men and women are not born with equal rights in Saudi-Arabia. The woman’s rights will mostly be dependent on her male relatives decisions.
- Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.Race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national and social origin, property, and birth are all factors that determine the rights an individual has or does not have in Saudi-Arabia
- No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.Although slavery is officially abolished, some low wage workers and maids still live in slavery-like circumstances. http://www.migrant-rights.org/2010/11/19/indonesian-maid-tortured-in-saudi-arabia-another-beaten-to-death/
- No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.Most sites revealing horror stories of torture in Saudi jails have been blocked from Saudi-Arabia (wonder why?). A British man tells of his torture experience from Saudi prison: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/may/10/alqaida.saudiarabia while an Indonesian maid was found to have 24 nails in her body: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11094968
- All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. The Indonesian maid tortured by her employers received 670$ for damages while her Saudi employers were freed of all charges. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7415290.stm
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Citizens are frequently arrested and detained for objectionable reasons. The latest case was the men arrested for filming a youtube video exposing poverty in Saudi-Arabia: http://saudijeans.org/2011/10/18/are-we-fine-two-saudi-men-arrested-over-youtube-video/
- Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.Women that protested peacefully outside the Ministry of Interior for demanding fair trials for their relatives were detained: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/saudi-arabia-detains-women-protesters-2011-07-04
- Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. Earlier this year a Sri Lankan maid was sentenced to death by beheading after an arbitrary and unfair trial, she was not provided a translator or lawyers in court. http://www.humanrights.asia/news/alrc-news/human-rights-council/hrc16/ALRC-CWS-16-14-2011
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. The Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice repeatedly violates this clause, the latest news of Hai’a members humiliating and falsely accusing a female neurologist of illegitimate relations at her workplace emerged.
- religious police have known to physically assault citizens, even women. This woman was dragged out of the car, her veil ripped off by five members of Hai’a http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=20111011110339
- (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Women are not allowed to drive and hence move freely.
- (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Women cannot leave the country without permission from their male guardian (mahram).
- (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.Children born from Saudi women married to foreigners are not automatically granted nationality.
- (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Saudi women cannot marry without permission from their guardians. There are cases of “adhl” where the male guardian refuses to give permission for the female relative to marry: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40407940/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/saudi-women-sue-male-guardians-who-stop-marriage/#.TuOx-GPhdt Saudis are not allowed to marry foreign nationals without permission from Ministry of interior.
- (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.Child brides don’t have much say in the matter: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/08/saudi-arabia-child-brides-marriage?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.The only acceptable religion in the Kingdom is Islam, any form of practicing other religions is seen proselytizing and punishable by law. Some critics of the strict Wahabi version of Islam have been accused and sentenced to jail for “insulting Islam”:http://www.hrw.org/news/2008/05/12/saudi-arabia-stop-trials-insulting-islam
- Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. A Saudi man named Khaled Aljuhainy went missing after he talked to the press on the planned “Day of Rage”, he was the only person to show up and speak out. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/1677/where-is-khaled-the-story-of-a-disappeared-critic
- (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Any kind of public gatherings and assemblies are forbidden by law.
- (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Saudi Arabia being an absolute monarchy, this is impossible. Most of the high ranking positions and ministries are occupied by royal family members.
- (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. Women are not allowed to enter governmental offices, some have women’s sections with very limited services.
- (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. The Only elections currently held in the Kingdom are the municipal elections which have been accused of being only cosmetic and not with real political influence.http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=45819 Women will be allowed to participate in the next round 2015.
- (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Women cannot work without permission from their male guardians and even if they have permission their employment options are limited to a few fields.
- (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.Employees are paid according to their passport. For the same work an American will get paid 20,000 while an Asian colleague gets a mere 5000 for the exact same job.
- Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.Foreign domestic workers like maids and drivers have no set working hours, days off or holidays, it is up to the employer to decide. There is no law to ensure workers are treated fairly.
- (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Saudi women cannot access medical services without the consent of their male guardians.
- (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Saudi women need the permission from their guardians to study.
How come Saudi-Arabia’s Sharia law is not??
Because it’s the culture, not the religion that is violating these rights!
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