Arab Studies Center refutes UN allegations against Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen

A file photo shows Saudi-led coalition soldier patrolling the Saudi border in Yemen.
Updated 13 October 2017
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Arab Studies Center refutes UN allegations against Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen

MAKKAH: The Arab Studies Center, affiliated with the European Council of Social Sciences, refuted the allegations of the UN report claiming that the operations of the Arab coalition forces caused civilian casualties in Yemen.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the deputy chair and the secretary-general of the Arab Studies Center, Ahmed Abu Saada and Mahdi Ali, said in a statement responding to the UN report: “We follow with great interest and scrutiny all the new developments in Yemen, and we do our best to contribute to the clarification of the truth and refutation of falsehood. We read recently the UN report, which talked about civilian casualties caused by the operations of the Arab coalition forces in Yemen. There are many points to be discussed regarding the credibility and validity of the report.”
The statement added: “We have the right to question the sources of the report and whether they are reliable enough to accept their story, the methodology used in the collection of information for the report, and whether proper survey methods were followed to reach the facts.”
The statement also questioned the purpose behind the timing of the report, and whether it is really meant to serve the best interests of the Yemeni people and improve their security and humanitarian conditions. The statement added that the UN declined in many situations over the past decades to publish reports about the civilian damages due to military operations at times when it should have done so, which shows the double standard used in different situations.
The statement stressed that the UN should have worked in coordination with the Arab coalition to prevent the armed terrorist militias from harming the civilian population and reveals their attempts to penetrate civilian communities and use them for political ends. “Our vision of the situation is based on stressing the ethical motives of the Arab coalition forces operations in Yemen,” the statement said, “which aim to help the elected legitimate government and prevent the extremist militias from harming neighboring countries.”
The statement also stressed that the UN report should have used a more precise methodology in reporting and documenting the alleged violations committed by the coalition of Arab forces in Yemen, taking into consideration the complex situation in Yemen and the responsibility of the armed militias of a great number of violations, which makes the legitimate government the main source of information and data in this regard.
The publishers of the statement concluded that their main aim is to preserve the integrity and credibility of the UN, and to prevent accusing the victim of committing the crime, because this may have many ramifications on the situation on the ground.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.