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.”
 


King Salman to inaugurate Saudi Arabia’s Haramain high-speed railway

Updated 25 September 2018
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King Salman to inaugurate Saudi Arabia’s Haramain high-speed railway

  • The 450 kilometer train line connects the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah with stations at Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, and King Abdullah Economic City
  • This giant project has been implemented in three stages by a number of national and international companies

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will inaugurate the Haramain high speed rail project on Tuesday ahead of the start of commercial operations next month.
The 450 kilometer train line connects the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah with stations at Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, and King Abdullah Economic City.
Saudi Minister of Transport, Dr. Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi, expressed his gratitude to the King for his patronage of the ceremony as well as his support for national projects.
Al-Amoudi said King Salman gives great importance to the transportation projects in Saudi Arabia as they represent the Kingdom’s efforts in serving citizens and visitors, specifically pilgrims.
He also said the King and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman are always committed to provide the highest quality services to pilgrims, to fulfill Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which aims to increase the number of pilgrims.
This giant project has been implemented in three stages by a number of national and international companies.
The project can carry 60 million passengers a year with a fleet of 35 trains containing 417 seats each.
Dr. Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, chairman of the Public Transport Authority, said the project is the region’s first high-speed electric train.
The designs of the stations of the Haramain rail were inspired by the unique Islamic architecture of the cities of Makkah and Madinah.