Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Riyadh to form a government commission for human rights

Saudi Arabia's government announced its determination to establish a government commission for human rights. This is the second commission of its kind in the kingdom since one and a half years.

The Saudi official news agency said that the Saudi cabinet approved during its weekly session on Monday to organize the commission with the objectives of "protecting human rights and enhancing it, disseminating awareness, and contributing the implementation of that in light of the rule of the Islamic jurisprudence."

The Saudi news agency added that the commission will be a specialized government entity to give views and consultations concerning this matter.

The commission is composed of a President (of a rank of a minister) and two deputies appointed by a royal decree as well as 18 members ( full timers) and other 6 ( part timers) who are interested in human rights issues, all of them appointed by the prime minister for a period of four years, to be renewed.

In March 2004, Saudi Arabia officially approved the foundation of the national society for human rights which is considered the first non-governmental organization. Observers consider that the foundation of the society is a step in the march of reform in the country which is considered the largest oil exporter in the world.

International human rights organization and certain western countries accuse Saudi Arabia of human rights violations including violations of the Saudis and foreign workers especially the Asians among them, Gays and other minorities. However, Saudi Arabia denies these violations.