German parliamentary team visits key Saudi institutions

Claudia Roth. (AFP file photo)
Updated 02 November 2016

German parliamentary team visits key Saudi institutions

RIYADH: Vice President of the German Parliament Claudia Roth held talks with Mohammed Al-Jiffri, Shoura Council vice president, and other Shoura members during her three-day visit to the Kingdom from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.
Roth and her delegation were in Jeddah where visits to the King Abdallah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) and to the King Abdallah Economic City (KAEC) were on the program. “The visit underlined once again the excellent quality of the bilateral relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Michael Ohnmacht, German Embassy spokesperson.
He added: “We are witnessing a period of intensified exchange and visits between the parliamentarians of the two countries,” Ohnmacht said, adding that next week a Shoura delegation will also visit Germany.
Leading a delegation which included MP Matthias Zimmer from the Christian Democratic Party, Roth also met with Ahmad Omar Al-Zailai, president of the German-Saudi Friendship Group of the Shoura Council.
Ohnmacht added that the program also included visits to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Planning, the High Commission of Entertainment and various organizations. “These organizations included the National Society of Human Rights, the National Dialogue Center, the Human Rights Commission, among others,” the spokesman said.
He added that Roth “takes a special interest in the situation of women in Saudi Arabia and had talks with representatives of the Al-Nahda Charitable Society."
“She also had a meeting with businesswomen at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) where there were lively discussions about the recent achievements and future challenges,” he said.
He added that “at the Princess Nourah University, the largest women’s university in the world, she met with students and academics, and could visit the very modern pediatric and maternity hospital which is scheduled to open soon.”
Her visit in the Saudi capital was concluded by the opening of the Goethe Institute (GI) in Umm Al Hammam.
During the ceremony, Roth encouraged more Saudis to take advantage of the German language classes offered by the Goethe Institute, and expressed her hopes that it will act as a bridge-builder between the cultures and societies of the two countries.
The ceremony was attended by German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller and Goethe Institute Vice Secretary General Bruno Grosf.

Saudi Arabia urges UN to bolster efforts to criminalize racism, hatred

Updated 22 May 2019

Saudi Arabia urges UN to bolster efforts to criminalize racism, hatred

  • Strong legislation in cyberspace stressed to combat extremism

VIENNA: Saudi Arabia has called on the UN to strengthen global efforts to criminalize racial discrimination, the promotion of hatred and intolerance.

Addressing an international legal conference in Austria, Dr. Abdullah bin Fakhri Al-Ansari, an adviser to the Saudi Interior Ministry, said the Kingdom is considering new laws to clamp down on what has become a major threat to world peace and security.

Al-Ansari, who is also the ministry’s director general of legal affairs and international cooperation, told delegates that urgent action is required to combat intolerance based on ideology and race.

Leading the Saudi delegation at the 28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, at the UN’s offices in Vienna, he said Islam and Muslims in many countries have been subjected to deliberate campaigns of distortion.

Based on reports, Al-Ansari added that in the past few years, hatred and intolerance against Islam had reached “disturbing” levels.

The opening session of the meeting, which runs until May 24, began with a discussion on effective and humane criminal justice systems to prevent and respond to crimes motivated by intolerance or discrimination.

Al-Ansari reviewed the legislation and regulations enacted by the Kingdom to criminalize all forms of racial discrimination, hatred, intolerance, incitement, and dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred.

He said Saudi authorities are considering a new law to criminalize racism, hatred, the formation of racist organizations, attacks on places of worship, contempt for religion, the promotion of hatred, discrimination against individuals and groups, and the undermining of historical figures. The draft law also aims to protect society from discrimination on ethnic, tribal, regional, doctrinal, intellectual or political grounds.

Al-Ansari said hate speech based on extremist thought not only targets Islam and Muslims but also democratic regimes.

He urged all regional and international organizations to strengthen efforts to combat impunity for crimes against religions, condemn and prevent intolerance and discrimination, and continue to issue laws restricting hate speech against religions and their followers.

He noted the need for strong legislation in cyberspace, which he said has become a breeding ground for extremist ideas. The Saudi delegation joined representatives from Japan, Australia, Austria, Colombia and Mexico in presenting four draft resolutions on technical assistance to implement international conventions against terrorism, sexual exploitation, abuse of children and cybercrime.