KSA lists its steps against human trafficking

Saad Al-Saad
Updated 23 December 2016
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KSA lists its steps against human trafficking

UNITED NATIONS: Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its strong rejection of all forms of human trafficking and promised to double efforts to eliminate it in coordination with the international community, by ratifying international conventions and treaties on human trafficking.
The Kingdom’s deputy representative to the UN, Saad Al-Saad, said: “Our meeting today aims to discuss a crime that is condemned all around the world because it is a gross violation of human rights.”
“Unfortunately, the majority of victims are women, girls and children. Almost all countries are affected by this crime, be they the countries of origin of the victims, transit countries or destination countries,” he added.
Due to the growing number of conflicts in many regions, this crime has intensified and takes many forms. Countries around the world and international organizations specializing in human trafficking have sought to develop mechanisms and issue laws to deter the crime and reduce its economic, psychological and economic effects, Al-Saad added.
Domestically, he said, the Kingdom has fought human trafficking through legislation and taken measures to prevent human trafficking, including prosecuting and punishing perpetrators, offering protection to victims and cooperating with other states and international organizations.
Al-Saad said that the anti-human trafficking law was passed in the Kingdom in 2009 and a permanent committee for combating human trafficking was formed in the Saudi Human Rights Commission, with members coming from a number of government agencies, all in order to boost coordination and national efforts to fight this criminal activity.
Comprehensive plans and recommendations have been made to ensure that vulnerable groups do not fall prey to such violations. The commission has been tasked with monitoring and implementing these recommendations and raise the issue with the Royal Court in case authorities meet obstacles or there are shortcomings, he said.
Al-Saad added that the task of the permanent committee is to monitor conditions of victims of human trafficking to ensure they are not abused or harmed again, and to coordinate with pertinent authorities the return of victims to their homes or other countries, as requested.
The committee can also recommend that the victims stay in the Kingdom, and takes care of their legal status to allow them to work, if they so wish, and comes up with policies, publishes research, collects data and provides training that helps identify victims of this crime.
The committee also promotes community awareness and takes social and economic initiatives to prevent human trafficking, in coordination with all concerned authorities.
Al-Saad said the Kingdom has joined a number of international instruments related to combating human trafficking, notably the United Nations Convention to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol to Prevent Trafficking in Persons, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups, and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.
The Kingdom also adopted many of the ILO conventions, notably convention Nos. 290 and 182, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Slavery Convention of 1926 and amended protocol.
Al-Saad said that due to an increase in the number and intensity of conflicts, especially in the Middle East, there have been noticeably higher incidents of human trafficking, especially among displaced Syrians.
Unfortunately, criminals exploited the vulnerability and needs of refugees and their dire humanitarian situation for personal gain. The situation has forced many victims to try to cope by giving up their dignity and humanity, he said.


Women welcomed to Saudi roads

This historic decision will positively impact not only the lives of individuals but also on the future of businesses within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Updated 25 June 2018
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Women welcomed to Saudi roads

  • This historic decision will positively impact not only the lives of individuals but also on the future of businesses within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Businesses such as spas, cafés, hotels and restaurants were offering something in return for Saudi women showing their licenses

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia eased into its first commuter day with women on the roads without a hitch on Sunday.

It was a historic day of celebration as police gave female drivers flowers, hotels offered rooms and meals to the first women to arrive driving their cars, cafes served them free coffee, while the Ministry of Transport greeted them with a billboard that read “Dear sister, we wish you safety always.”
Many women were seen driving to their offices on Sunday morning, while a few were driving on the outskirts of Riyadh to acclimatize themselves with the environment before they hit the roads.
“As of 12am, the implementation of the Supreme Court order to enable women to drive and the implementation of traffic regulations to both men and women is officially in effect,” said Col. Sami Al-Shwairkh, the official spokesman for General Security in the Kingdom.
“The security and traffic status on all roads and areas around the Kingdom have been reported as normal. There have not been any records from our monitoring of any unusual occurrences on the road throughout the Kingdom.”
Meanwhile, businesses such as spas, cafés, hotels and restaurants were offering something in return for Saudi women showing their licenses.
The ladies-only spa at Jeddah’s Park Hyatt Hotel, Evania Spa, was giving free access to the first three women who show up to it with a 30-minute massage as part of the day’s celebrations.
Restaurants such as Punjab Grill, Rosso and Rai in Jeddah were offering free lunch or dinner to every female that arrived in her own vehicle and showing her driver’s license.
Hotels such as the Narcissus in Riyadh and Sheraton Damman were also celebrating women driving by offering a free night’s stay and dinners at their top restaurants for the first women to arrive in their own cars.
Women enthusiastically and wholeheartedly cheered on their fellow female drivers, beginning after midnight, packing Jeddah’s Corniche in the middle of the night and then into the day.
Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena was among the very first women to drive in the Kingdom as soon as the clock struck midnight. “I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” she said.
Almaeena told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”
She urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately, they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.”
And this isn’t because Almaeena doesn’t know what she’s doing. “I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”
On how society is adapting to this major change, Almaeena said: “Tomorrow is the first day, mentally and psychologically, it already had that shift. As I mentioned, it’s a paradigm shift. In perception and how they view women, their capabilities — as equal partners.
“Mentally, it’s already there, and physically we will see, as we start, more and more encouragement for both men and women. Even some of the women who weren’t feeling comfortable about driving, it’s going to be encouraging for them, in a live demonstration and evidence that women can do it.”
Dr. Soha Tashkandi, chairperson of clinical pathology in Riyadh’s King Fahad Medical City, also got into her car just after midnight but was back out in the day. “When the clock struck 12am on Sunday, June 24, I drove in my country for the first time,” she said. “It was a memorable night, not only because I took to the wheel in Saudi, but because my 18-year-old daughter was alongside me. She also had the chance to drive.”
She and her daughter were some of the first ladies to register for a license, and her husband supported them all the way.
Tashkandi, with her husband Dr Ismael Baksh in the back seat, took an Arab News reporter for a spin yesterday. When Baksh was asked how he feels sitting in the back seat, he replied: “Finally, I can relax”.
Tashkandi praised the Saudi Driving School (SDS) as a positive experience that was full of ease. Nothing could stop them from getting their licenses, she said. “The SDS team were highly professional and helpful accommodating my training schedule according to my long working hours. Part of the training was during the holy month of Ramadan, but this did not stop me or my daughter from taking the full 30-hour training.”
As she made a right turn, Tashkandi said: “Whether at home or working as an individual, Saudi women have always been supported by their male peers. Today, we all celebrate together.
“This historic decision will positively impact not only the lives of individuals but also on the future of businesses within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”