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.”
 


Saleh Al-Sulami, general secretary of the Saudi Export Development Authority

Updated 16 July 2019
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Saleh Al-Sulami, general secretary of the Saudi Export Development Authority

Saleh Al-Sulami has been the general secretary of the Saudi Export Development Authority since January 2017.

Previously, Al-Sulami served as the deputy minister at the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources between 2015 and 2018.

He also served as the general manager of Obeikan Investment Group for more than four years from 2010 to 2014.

Between 2005 and 2010, Al-Sulami served as general manager of other companies including Al-Modayfer Investment Group, which has a number of businesses producing building materials and offering construction-related services.

Al-Sulami also headed Al-Watania for Plastics for more than four years, a leading regional manufacturer and distributor of plastic products since 1982.

Al-Sulami obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from King Saud University in Riyadh.

The Saudi Export Development Authority has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Co. in Riyadh, which aims to promote and increase export of Saudi products. 

The supply and promotion of Saudi products represent a major part of Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets’ mission in the retail and wholesale trade through its branches in Egypt.

The products targeted for export, are particularly those of Saudi origin produced by licensed factories in the Kingdom.

The signing ceremony was attended by Al-Sulami and Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al-Othaim, CEO and board member of Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets.