Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment

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Saudi women take part in the 87th National Day celebrations in Riyadh. (Reuters)
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King Salman has given the interior minister 60 days to draft the law. (Shutterstock)
Updated 30 September 2017
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Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment

JEDDAH: A new anti-harassment law has won praise from across Saudi Arabia after King Salman ordered the interior minister to criminalize sexual harassment.
The government has prepared a draft anti-harassment law to be implemented in 60 days, with jail terms and flogging being considered as possible penalties.
The move comes just days after a royal decree lifted the driving ban on women.
The latest royal decree stated that sexual harassment posed a great threat to women and families, and was “in contradiction of Islamic principles.”
The decree read: “Considering the dangers sexual harassment poses and its negative impact on the individual, the family and society along with its contradiction of Islamic principles, our customs and traditions … the ministry shall prepare a draft law to tackle sexual harassment.”
The move drew a very favorable reaction from Saudi society.
“The order of King Salman is good and laudable. It will definitely give protection to women ... from harassment by men,” said Khalil Al-Jehani, a practicing lawyer in the Saudi capital.
He added that the order is a further show of support for women after the decree lifting the ban on women driving.
In a 2014 study, nearly 80 percent of women aged 18 to 48 said they had been exposed to some form of sexual harassment.
Faisal M. Al-Mashouh, a lawyer and legal adviser, said the law would “be a road map to control existing relations in society and protect the rights of women.”
He said the law is “a qualitative leap for the rights of women in Saudi Arabia,” adding that in the past, they took a backseat in decision-making and were passive participants in nation-building. This is no longer the case, he said.
Women “have become members of the Shoura Council so their voice on vital issues is heard. They’ve also become heads of leading local corporations,” he said.
The new law will give women more self-confidence and courage to pursue their goals and be active participants in nation-building, as envisioned in Vision 2030, he added.
Many women took to Twitter to express their support for the new law, overjoyed at the prospect of more freedom and safety.
Farah Al-Jabr tweeted that she finally felt like a “human being.”
Maha Al-Fahad was overwhelmed at the events of the past few days, tweeting: “OK … If this is a dream, don’t wake me up.”
Others took the opportunity to ask for the reopening of cinemas as the next step.
Mueerah Al-Ibrahim said this week “was the most beautiful, historic week ever,” with @stgirlever tweeting: “Women driving: done. Anti-Harassment law: done. Cinema: soon. Please welcome the new Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
 


Jeddah airport decorated with Saudi flag to celebrate national day

Updated 6 min 32 sec ago
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Jeddah airport decorated with Saudi flag to celebrate national day

  • Director-General of King Abdul Aziz International Airport Essam bin Fouad Noor inaugurated the event in hall number one on Saturday evening.
  • Noor said that the celebration of this important national event showed the magnitude of love for the country.

JEDDAH: King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah marked the 88th National Day by decorating its entrances with the national flag, balloons and green lights. Airport employees also wore special scarves to highlight the occasion.
Director-General of King Abdul Aziz International Airport Essam bin Fouad Noor inaugurated the event in hall number one on Saturday evening, in the presence of government and operational sectors’ leaders and the airport’s department managers.
Noor said that the celebration of this important national event showed the magnitude of love for the country, and the airport’s management was keen on making early preparations to organize a celebration worthy of the occasion. The airport halls were decorated with the national flag and the color green, and gifts were presented to travelers, in addition to many events taking place in the halls, he added.
The event will continue for several days, Noor said, and the occasion would witness the participation of many airport operating agencies.
Noor congratulated King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, his deputy, the ruling family and the Saudi people on the occasion of the Kingdom’s 88th National Day, and prayed for the safety of the country and other Muslim countries.
The event included giving arriving and departing travelers roses and chocolate, distributing the Saudi flag and souvenirs dedicated for the occasion, and allocating a booth for a “national footprint” and “national selfie.”
The UN office for arts also participated, with the “thank you country” section presented by a number of children and people, in addition to shows and gifts carrying the colors of the Saudi flag.
The airport’s management organized the event under the supervision of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) with the participation of the following sponsors: Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saudi Ground Services, Ports Projects Management and Development Company (PPDMC) and Airport Services and Air Transport Support Company (SAAS).