Haia to enforce ban on men in lingerie shops next week

Updated 14 February 2013
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Haia to enforce ban on men in lingerie shops next week

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) will start next week to implement an agreement, signed with the Ministry of Labor, to enforce a ban on men working at women’s lingerie and accessory shops in the Kingdom.
Haia Chairman Abdul Latif Al-Asheikh was quoted in a local newspaper as saying that Haia members will carry out inspections across the country. “We shall assume this task of inspecting lingerie shops starting next week,” he said.
He said the Haia will record all violations “at shops, shopping centers, malls and markets.” A report on all offenders will be sent to the Ministry of Labor for further action.
He said the grace period agreed with the Ministry of Labor will end in two weeks. “The Haia will follow legitimate procedures to penalize violators and refer them to the competent bodies.”
Al-Asheikh said that the Haia will choose suitably qualified staff members to carry out the inspections. The staffers will act in a rational and patient manner. They will all have relevant legal knowledge and will treat each violation on its merits, he added.
He said that the Haia is implementing Islamic law to protect the dignity of Saudi women and prevent them from being harassed. “The objective is that she works in a safe work environment, suitable to her nature. The aim is to provide women with good job opportunities in compliance with the directives of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques and the crown prince.”
He said the country’s growing economy has meant that there are many jobs available for Saudis, particularly women.
Al-Asheikh said women all over the world work in lingerie and accessory shops for women, and it was natural for this to happen in Saudi Arabia. He said the Haia will support women citizens in this regard.
Al-Asheikh urged the media to raise awareness about women working. “We shall extend help to women so that they can progress with their small and medium enterprises, find jobs to earn a decent livelihood and participate in the economic growth of our country.”
Al-Asheikh recently signed an agreement with Labor Minister Adel Fakeih to support all job creation projects for women and to ban men from working at lingerie shops.
Under the agreement, shops were given a grace period of one month to comply. It also states that women should contact the Haia or the security authorities if they are harassed or blackmailed.
Dina Abu Addouh, employment official at Alshaya company, said the company has already recruited women employees at all its cosmetics and lingerie shops. All men who were working at the lingerie and cosmetic shops were transferred to other Alshaya outlets.
A salesman at Sephora, an outlet for beauty products and makeup, said the management assigned women employees to makeup and perfume sections. The salesmen are responsible for men’s perfumes and other products.
A saleswoman at The Body Shop said women operate the whole store. Some men employees resigned while others were promoted or given administrative jobs, she added.


Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

Updated 40 min 37 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir was speaking after UK suspended issuing new licenses for weapons sales to the Kingdom in response to a court ruling
  • UK government disagrees with the judgement and will seek permission to appeal

LONDON: Halting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia will only benefit Iran, Adel Al-Jubeir said Wednesday, after the British government announced it would suspend issuing new licenses for the sale of arms to the Kingdom.

The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the decision in parliament after a court ordered the government to “reconsider” the sales because of their humanitarian impact in Yemen.

Fox said he disagreed with the judgement and would seek permission to appeal.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the deployment of weapons in Yemen was legitimate.

“The decision by the court in the UK has to do with procedures for licensing, not any wrongdoing that took place,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters in London.

“The coalition is an ally of the West and the coalition is fighting a legitimate war at the behest of a legitimate government to stop Iran and its proxies from taking over a strategically important country - so the only beneficiary of a cut-off of weapons to the coalition is going to be Iran.”

The court ruling does not halt Britain's arms exports but means the granting of new licences will be paused.

Leading British defence firm BAE Systems said it would continue to support the UK government “in providing equipment, support and training under government to government agreements between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is part of the Arab coalition fighting to support the internationally recognized government in Yemen which was driven from the capital Sanaa in 2014 by Iran-backed militants.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 43 percent of Britain's global arms sales in the past decade, Reuters reported.

The legal action against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Meanwhilw, a State Department official said the US must stand with Saudi Arabia as a key security partner, when asked about the Thursday's court ruling in the UK.
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper said both the US and Britain had long-standing bilateral ties to Saudi Arabia.
"They are carrying a significant amount of equity to protect US interests and US persons, and it is incumbent upon us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners, especially when they are on the front line for our interests," he said.

*With Reuters