women's rights in saudi arabia 2020

When governments routinely silence and violate the basic rights of their citizens, it becomes the responsibility of the global community to advance the solution. Click here to donate to Freedom Forward via ActBlue. For Westerners, squinting at Saudi Arabia across a vast landscape of stories about oppressed women, ultraconservative Islam and human rights abuses, the desert kingdom often leaves a single, damning impression: Here is a country that women are desperate to flee. Women who diverge from the State-enforced narratives of praise of the government or the status of their country risk losing their jobs, having their children taken from them, travel bans, imprisonment, and in extreme cases, death. Rights groups have condemned Saudi Arabia over the decision to try prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in terrorism court. Although women in Saudia Arabia have been granted certain basic rights, there is a long way to go. “We thought: We can’t do anything. Women whose families raise no objections, like Joumana Alshaikh, 20, Ms. Moha’s co-worker and friend, often assert that the crown prince has granted women all the rights they need. For them, permission was nearly always granted. Dancing at an electronic music festival in Riyadh in December. For Westerners, squinting at Saudi Arabia across a vast landscape of stories about oppressed women, ultraconservative Islam and human rights … Others, like Rafaa and Raghda, were pushing for it from below. Though Prince Mohammed has spoken of dismantling the guardianship system, women remain legal minors when it comes to marrying, living on their own and other matters. Anniversary marks two-year detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia May 14, 2020 . Support our campaigns for freedom. Lastly, forced gender segregation also severely limits women’s access to the labor market and male-dominated networks required for equal growth and development potential. Their parents have caved a little, but fretted a lot. By December, Raghda and Rafaa had turned to their next project: persuading their father to let them go to an electronic music festival in Riyadh, a 90-minute flight away, with a group of friends, male and female. MEDINA, Saudi Arabia — On the question of women working, the law of the land was crystal clear. Loujain al-Hathloul looked weak and unwell after 900 days in jail, said her family Published: 25 Nov 2020 . As she spoke, her phone buzzed. By then, however, other cafes had opened with both male and female staff. Saudi Arabia: Women's rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul due in court 9 March 2020, 15:35 UTC Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi Arabian women’s rights defender who has been detained for almost two years, is due to appear in court in Riyadh this week (Wednesday 11 March). Ms. Alshaikh, who never had to sneak around her parents, sees the place of women differently. But one study, from 2018, suggested that fear of social stigma may drive opposition more than personal resistance. Two years and much ado later, Raghda serves lattes filigreed with milk art at a strip-mall coffee shop and Rafaa hosts community gatherings at an event space across the way. On May 15, 2018, a number of prominent Saudi women’s human rights activists were arrested. “Now, I’m free. In Riyadh, the capital, it was not only respectability but religion that troubled Revan Moha’s parents. But he had already read all about it. According to Amnesty International, Samar Badawi was also referred to the same special court, while Nassima al-Sada… “It was a totally different era,” said Albasheeri, founder of the interior design platform Makan.Design. But it’s so good to finally be myself,” said Raghda, 21. Nov. 26 (UPI) --Saudi Arabia moved the trial of women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul to a special court known for handling terrorism cases, her family said Thursday. When she lived for a time with her strict, pious father after her parents’ divorce, cutting her hair short was forbidden. To the sisters, that was the point. Women are barred from making rulings in courts, as not a single female judge presides over any courtroom in all of Saudi Arabia. They feared for the family’s reputation as much as for their daughters’ souls. Human rights violations in Saudi Arabia certainly aren’t limited to Saudi citizens. Several other women’s rights activists (including Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza Al-Youssef) have been forced to sign statements swearing silence, issued travel bans prohibiting their right to exit Saudi Arabia, and are facing trial along with other prisoners for nonsensical allegations. Photograph: Reuters. Generations of women who have bravely spoken out against the system of oppression have been fired from their jobs, shamed, arrested, and even subjected to torture. Triumphs that might seem trivial outside the kingdom loom huge within it, especially in the small cities and villages where most Saudis live, far from cosmopolitan Riyadh and Jeddah. Their Families Don’t Always Agree. The system subjects foreign workers rights in Saudi Arabia to the mercy of their employers. For an assignment in Global Women’s Issues, PSU student Sydney McClanahan started a petition for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and India. The immediate and unconditional release of all women’s rights defenders would be a litmus testof the Saudi government’s political will to improve the human rights … On November 5, 2020, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) appealed Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to release women rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. B20 Saudi Arabia: With women activists jailed, “empowerment” summit is a sham 23 October 2020, 12:32 UTC . The global community must continue to demand justice for women in Saudi Arabia and refuse to be complicit in damaging propaganda campaigns seeking to legitimize the Saudi government. For more information, please email womensrights@freedomforward.org. We must shift from awareness to action. Appearing weak and shaking uncontrollably, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent prisoners, women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, appeared before a Saudi … Nov 24, 2020 Loujain al-Hathloul will stand trial in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, her family said, nearly a month after the women's rights activist went on hunger strike to protest her prison conditions. “We were just announced that @LoujainHathloul has a trial tomorrow,” her sister, Lina al-Hathloul, tweeted Tuesday. Saudi judges routinely order such shockingly low amounts of child support from fathers that divorced mothers are habitually forced to give up custody or live in poverty. She coped with an old iPod, a phone and a keyboard hidden in her room. Saudi Law Granted Women New Freedoms. It also removes female perspectives and leadership in the context of men’s educational experiences. We must shift from awareness to action. For women, these fundamental flaws are made even worse. Children in Saudi are being stolen away from their mothers based on judicial justifications as outlandish as failure to cover their face, having a different culture, working full time, and remarriage. Women’s dignity, equality, and basic rights are inherent, and such grave human rights violations require global solidarity and action. Here is a history of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Women's rights advocates from the United Nations called on Saudi Arabia Thursday to immediately release dissident Loujain al-Hatloul, claiming her … Even before the legal changes, Saudi women from tolerant families rarely had to chafe under requirements that a male guardian approve plans to get jobs or travel abroad. The global community must continue to demand justice for women in Saudi Arabia and refuse to be complicit in damaging propaganda campaigns seeking to legitimize the Saudi government. “Dad said, ‘I know it’s a concert. Kind of. women in the workforce, saudi economy, saudi society, women in saudi arabia, entrepreneur. Saudi Arabia’s government-enforced system of gender segregation further debilitates women’s position in society. The study, which comes days before Saudi Arabia hosts the G20 on Saturday, notes 27 political prisoners were women’s rights activists - saying six of them had been sexually assaulted. You’ll be in public!” their father said after the sisters scandalized their parents by announcing that they wanted jobs at a coffee shop in Medina, the second-holiest city in Islam, where the Prophet Muhammad was said to have died. “What will people say? September 7, 2020. I’m on Twitter, too,’” she said. “In other countries, men and women are living the same life, they’re equal. Foreigners in Saudi Arabia:  Modern-Day Slavery. Saudi authorities carried out a sweeping campaign of repression against independent dissidents and activists, including two waves of mass arrests, in 2019, Human Rights … The lack of reliable public polling and free speech makes it difficult to gauge how Saudis view women’s changing status. Though Crown Prince Mohammed remains a volatile and internationally controversial ruler — this month, he delivered back-to-back surprises by detaining at least four royal relatives and rocking global markets with a sudden oil price war — he appears committed to his social agenda. Such equality in the workforce is desperately needed, considering Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s worst female labor force percentages. Women … Not all the changes have been hard sells in Saudi Arabia. I can finally talk to people without covering my face.”. Saudi law requires women to be obedient to husbands, considers a man’s word as twice as valuable as a woman’s, permits women’s evidence to be discarded if a man swears an oath to contradict her, and makes it incredibly difficult for women to divorce or marry without permission of a man. Ms. Moha, a baby-faced 18-year-old with round, wire-rimmed glasses and close-cropped hair, had not dared tell her father that she had a job, let alone that she worked at a coffee shop where clientele and baristas mixed freely, male and female. Some links in this post contain affiliate links including amazon associate links. Starting a few years ago, women won rights that some from tolerant families already enjoyed, such as traveling alone. “Men do things for women. You’re the princess of the house.”. But in Saudi, women are living the best life.”. Not a single female has ever been appointed as a minister in Saudi Arabia, and women hold only 30 seats of the 150-seat shura council, which is not nearly enough to influence the 2/3 majority vote required for recommendations to proceed forward to the King. Change is desperately needed, and Saudi Arabia must immediately end its violations of women’s rights and allow Saudi women to fully advocate for the social and political reforms that they desire, including substantive participation in government and the policy making process. Reports of abuse and rape of domestic workers are frequent, yet their status in Saudi leaves them with little access to justice or legal retribution. “It’s fine to work in an office because no one can see you there. With women’s empowerment topping the agenda at next week’s B20 Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International is reminding business leaders that many of the country’s bravest women’s rights activists are languishing in prison for daring to demand reforms. Revealing where she works, though, will have to wait. After her father confiscated her phone, she would message friends from her laptop, wheedling them into ordering her Ubers so she could sneak out. On 29 November 2020, seven European human rights ambassadors criticized Saudi Arabia over the continued detention of at least five women rights activists, including Loujain al-Hathloul. “Yes,” his text message read. Women 20 (W20) Saudi Arabia 2020. Most vulnerable are the female domestic employees, who are recruited by the millions as live-in nannies and cleaners each year. by TheWanderingQuinn September 7, 2020. “Me and Raghda were so depressed,” said Rafaa, who is younger but more forceful. As the social codes that long governed their lives relax their grip, more women are wearing their hair uncovered and mingling openly with men — at least in larger cities. European envoys urge Saudi Arabia to release women's rights activists By Angela Dewan , Sarah Sirgany and Tamara Qiblawi, CNN Updated 8:46 PM ET, Sun November 29, 2020 Rights groups want participants in a G20 women's meeting starting in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to seek the release of detained female activists and call out the kingdom for its record on rights. What To Wear in Saudi Arabia As a Foreign Woman in 2020! Day by day, it still falls to women in many households to negotiate their freedoms with the fathers, husbands, brothers and sons who serve as their legal guardians. Their co-workers and customers include men and women. The Saudi Human Rights Commission stated in its March 2020 report that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been making steady progress in terms of consecutive reforms and reviews of laws and regulations towards the empowerment and enablement of women”. Forced, involuntary gender segregation can undermine student preparation for a global economy. “Here in Saudi Arabia, it’s always, ‘What are people going to say?’” she said. “My parents are against me working here. Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was in court on Wednesday. G20 Women's Forum Urged to Press Hosts Saudi on Rights By Reuters , Wire Service Content Oct. 21, 2020 By Reuters , Wire Service Content Oct. 21, 2020, at 8:11 a.m. “I got my inspiration by reading the material for the course,” McClanahan said. Telling them that more men actually favored it was enough encouragement for them to register their wives for a job-recruitment service. According to a statement by Loujain al-Hathloul’s family, the court referred her case to the Specialized Criminal Court for terrorism and national security cases. Saudi Arabia is a predominately Islamic nation and the law system follows Sharia law. Raghda’s hair remains neatly tucked under a lilac head scarf, Rafaa’s under a black one. But the changes driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, have complicated that image over the last few years, codifying for women the right to drive, attend sporting events and travel without a man’s permission, among others. For more than two years, Saudi Arabia has locked up women’s rights activists who fought for – and won – women’s right to drive. This isn’t the life we want to live.”. It is a policy recommendation engagement group which is part of the G20 process but is independent from governments. The Women 20 (W20) is an official G20 engagement group established during the Turkish presidency in 2015. She has even told her mother that she has a job. In 2018 the Crown Prince Salman liberalized the driving law and permitted women to drive. But whether reality lives up to the law depends on the dice roll of birth. Seven European human rights ambassadors criticized Saudi Arabia on Sunday over the continued detention of at least five women's rights activists, including Loujain al … While Saudi Arabia’s overall human rights record is abhorrent, such violations are exasperated exponentially for women. And their parents, to everyone’s surprise, are coming around. “I really don’t care what people say, but my parents do.”, For all the government reforms, she said, “If your family is traditional, it wouldn’t help at all.”. The gulf between strict and tolerant families can be vast. Others’ aren’t,” Ms. Alshaikh shrugged. November 2020. Yet, Saudi Arabia's egregious human rights record and harsh repression of women's empowerment figures, continue to mar any of its claims of advancing gender equality. Just take the example of women driving in Saudi Arabia. Saudi courts are deeply flawed and often serve as a mechanism for hiding the Saudi State’s torture and other violations of human rights. So was playing music, as she dreamed of doing, or even listening to it. Particularly concerning are the Saudi personal status courts, which effectively grant men immunity under the law with regards to charges, complaints, or concerns raised by women. But their faces — sometimes people still do a double-take when they see them — are bare. At present, women are mere accessories in Saudi Arabia’s non-democratic government. If a resident leaves a job or household without permission, the sponsor may register them as a “runaway”, subjecting them to arrest or deportation. As it is illegal for Saudi nationals to marry foreigners, in the case that a Saudi man is granted an exception to the law, he also becomes the sponsor of his foreign wife. “Even if they wanted to, they can’t.”. The women also had to be accompanied by a male guardian and cover their hair. A class at a women’s driving school in Riyadh. UK legislator Baroness Helena Kennedy demands world leaders shun G20 meeting in Riyadh over jailed women activists. Ever since the Iranian Revolution, laws against women in Saudi Arabia have been stricter. Share. Published November 29, 2020 6:46 pm . among the worst places in the world to be a woman, only 30 seats of the 150-seat shura council, Reports of abuse and rape of domestic workers, Letter urging Vice President Biden to adopt a humane foreign policy, 17 NGOs call for Release of Saudi Women’s Rights Advocates. “We had no self-esteem,” Raghda said, “because we all looked the same.”. “We read about how women in Saudi Arabia have male guardians that… Sep 13, 2020 When Saudi entrepreneur Amal Albasheeri opened her first business in 2003, women were not allowed to enter most commercial premises. The Saudi Human Rights Commission stated in its March 2020 reportthat “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been making steady progress in terms of consecutive reforms and reviews of laws and regulations towards the empowerment and enablement of women”. The sisters who worked did so in the seclusion of offices, segregated from male co-workers. In a country run by men, State-forced segregation based on gender leaves women with unequal access to government services, educational and workplace opportunities and full participation in society. Prominent women’s rights advocates Loujain Al-Hathloul [pictured above], Samar Badawi, Naseema al-Sada, Nouf Abdulaziz, and Maya Al-Zahrani remain detained and face bizarre charges that violate basic human rights principles. Their parents’ easing up has mirrored a general loosening of Saudi society, much of it owing to the legal changes set in motion by the crown prince, who has erased many social restrictions and defanged the once-feared religious police. Saudi women's rights activist's trial moved to terrorism court. Share . I receive a small commission if you use the links at no extra cost to you. When they waited for Ubers after work, the young men hanging around the mall often heckled them, suspicious of their uncovered faces and light makeup. Every foreign resident in the Kingdom is currently subject to an abhorrent system of sponsorship (kafala) which is often referred to as modern-day slavery. When she heard her father coming home, her fingers flew to silence the music and close the social media apps where she chatted with male friends. Many policies and practices endorsed and enforced by Saudi Arabia’s monarchy dehumanize women, leaving them vulnerable to extreme discrimination and abuse. UK report calls out Saudi Arabia over women’s rights abuses. Raghda and Rafaa found new jobs, Raghda at Dasoqa, a coffee shop whose name means “ladybug,” and Rafaa at Blink, a community gathering space nearby. Other women have disappeared in prisons over trivial accusations, unable to exit due to a refusal of their male guardians to sign a required permission allowing them to exit. And eventhen, the shura council is just an advisory body in a non-democratic system. Despite the countless hardships that women face in the Saudi legal system, there are minimal legal consequences for men who abuse and even kill their wives or daughters. “My parents are OK with me traveling alone. Her father eventually gave up and sent her to live with her mother, under whose more permissive roof Ms. Moha cut her hair, uncovered her head, started wearing her abaya open over jeans and T-shirts and bought a piano and an electric guitar. It's been two years and women are slowly beginning to take driving classes and get drivers licenses. Amnesty International is calling on King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to release several notable women’s rights defenders, two years after they were detained. Gender segregation in Saudi Arabia has resulted in inexcusable disadvantages to generations of women and decades of untapped potential. Last modified on Wed 25 Nov 2020 … Though their hair remains covered, their faces are bare. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin. Women’s dignity, equality, and basic rights are inherent, and such grave human rights violations require global solidarity and action. It found that a majority of Saudi husbands approve of their wives working outside the home, yet underestimate how many other men also support it. European envoys urge Saudi Arabia to release women’s rights activists. Emma Graham-Harrison. This leaves the horrific impression that Saudi law not only considers women as unequal to men, but also that women’s lives are considered disposable. “You can go.”. “Our dad says, ‘What if my family came and saw you here working, making coffee and drinks?’” said Raghda. Indeed, the rhetoric of women's empowerment is no more than a poorly told joke in a country that continues to jail women for exercising basic rights such as freedom of speech. “The new thing is, women have more rights than men,” she said. Many Saudis, having traveled and lived abroad or seen the world through the internet, were already ready for a more permissive way of life. A store in Riyadh that sells colorful hijabs and clothes designed for women who want to travel or live outside Saudi. Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia has made significant legal reforms for women over the past few years, including granting women the right to drive and the ability to apply for passports and travel freely without the permission of a male guardian. Rafaa told him they were going to “a festival,” omitting the part about the music. ( W20 ) is an official G20 engagement group which is part of the world to a... “ Dad said, “ because We all looked the same. ” huge. 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