News / Middle East

Rights Groups Criticize Saudi Arabia Ahead of UN Review

FILE - Saudi women attend the traditional Arda dance, or War dance, during the Janadriyah Festival of Heritage and Culture on the outskirts of the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
FILE - Saudi women attend the traditional Arda dance, or War dance, during the Janadriyah Festival of Heritage and Culture on the outskirts of the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
VOA News
International human rights groups are criticizing Saudi Arabia as the country goes before a United Nations review Monday, saying that the country has not implemented necessary reforms.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both say Saudi Arabia has not carried out reforms recommended by the U.N. Human Rights Council during its last review, in 2009.

The council periodically examines each country's rights record, presenting questions from the international community and allowing governments to present efforts they have made.

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.

Most of those concerns were identified in the 2009 review.

Questions submitted to Saudi Arabia ahead of Monday's meeting ask the government to address the prospects for women to gain greater autonomy and to assess the role of human rights workers in the country amid arrests and the closure of some groups.

They also ask if the country plans to consider abolishing the death penalty, what steps it plans to take to ensure people receive due process, and how it will ensure that migrant workers can report abuses.

Saudi Arabia's pre-meeting report highlights efforts the country has made to reform its judicial system by training more judges, establishing a human rights unit to attend trials and inspect prisons, listening to complaints of prisoner abuses, and allowing alternative sentences.

The report also says punishments for certain offenses, including those involving the death penalty, cannot be altered because they are rooted in the sharia tradition of law that governs the country.

It also says women are guaranteed equality and have been given expanded opportunities to hold elected office, participate in the country's Shura Council and have access to jobs.

The U.N. will release its final report on Monday's review in March.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid