KSRelief chief: Yemeni ports under legitimate control open to aid

KSRelief General Supervisor Abdullah Al-Rabeeah addresses a high-level meeting in Rome on Friday. (SPA)
Updated 18 November 2017
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KSRelief chief: Yemeni ports under legitimate control open to aid

ROME: Yemeni ports under the control of the legitimate government can receive humanitarian aid, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), has said.
Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom had offered the Saudi Port of Jazan to be used along with other ports to help the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen.
Al-Rabeeah, who is at a high-level meeting in Rome for the Partnership for Permanent Peace in Yemen, condemned the 16 attacks of Houthi militias against UN and other relief organizations during 2015-2017, which involved murder, kidnapping, imprisonment and closure of offices, as well as extortion and looting.
The Houthi militias had closed ports and offices of international organizations working in Yemen and seized 65 ships, 124 relief convoys, and 628 aid shipments. He said the Houthi militias were targeting residential areas, humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers.
Al-Rabeeah said that the UN and international community should do more to hold militias accountable for hampering humanitarian work, and for their targeting of civilians and use of children in war crimes. Houthi militias had recruited more than 20,000 Yemeni children, according to human rights organizations. He said that the Kingdom was rehabilitating 2,000 children who were previously recruited by the militias.
Al-Rabeeah said that total aid provided by the Kingdom to Yemen from April 2015 to October 2017 reached $8.27 billion, noting that (KSRelief) delivered aid used airdrops of food and medical aid in the city of Taiz to break the blockade of the militias.
KSRelief delivered 161 projects in Yemen through 86 local and international partners. These projects included food security, nutrition, shelters, social support, and environmental sanitation.
Al-Rabeeah said that KSRelief was particularly interested in programs helping women and children, and ran 148 such programs in Yemen. KSRelief work covered 80 projects in education, protection, food security, health, nutrition, water, environmental sanitation, and personal hygiene.
Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom had been working to limit the spread of cholera in Yemen. It donated more than $76 million to the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population, the WHO, and UNICEF. KSRelief sent a convoy carrying more than 550,000 tons of medical equipment to Yemeni regions to fight the epidemic. The rate of recovery, he said, had reached 99.5 percent, which meant many organizations could close Cholera treatment centers in some areas.
He also called on UN and humanitarian organizations in Yemen to decentralize their humanitarian efforts and avoid opening their headquarters in one city only.


Interior Ministry is a pioneer in smart services: Saudi minister

More than 350 experts attended the cybersecutiry meeting in Jeddah on Tuesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 22 November 2018
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Interior Ministry is a pioneer in smart services: Saudi minister

  • The ministry “is part of the country’s work system of cybersecurity”

Millions of local internet users are making the most of the Ministry of Interior’s smart service portal every day. Its digital transformation program experience will be a global example to follow.

This was stressed by Assistant Minister of Interior for Technology Affairs Prince Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah Al-Mishari Al-Saud, the chief guest at a cybersecurity meeting organized by the Jeddah branch of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS International) at the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Higher Commission for Industrial Security.

The ministry “is part of the country’s work system of cybersecurity, which has recently become an independent government entity. It is responsible for planning and supervising cybersecurity. Therefore, we fully cooperate with it. Thus, the ministry is keen to support all national platforms, particularly the national cybersecurity authority,” the minister said in the meeting, in which specialists from the National Cyber Security Center and the Communications and Information Technology Commission participated.

In a 30-minute speech, the prince addressed an audience of more than 350, stressing that the Ministry of Interior has been digitized from the start.

“The National Information Center (NIC) was established 40 years ago as the first information center in the Middle East. Digitization in the Ministry of Interior started at that time. The founding of the NIC synchronized with the establishment of King Saud University’s College of Computer and Information Sciences, as the first college of its kind in the region, as far as I know,” he said. The college was one of the few institutions in the world at that time, he said. The ministry and King Saud University collaborated to establish the College of Computer and Information Sciences.

Prince Bandar pointed out that data have become “a commodity, an industry, wealth. All forms of data, in fact, have become an integrated industry and a national treasure on all levels.” Data and information, if used properly, can make a big leap in our life. If neglected, he said, they will be a burden on societies.

He noted that the portal of the Saudi Ministry of Interior is a pioneer in the region in smart services and solutions, pointing out that the ministry’s platforms and initiatives are used by millions of users every day. “It has made outstanding achievements at all levels, including passports, traffic and other services,” he said. The prince stressed in his lecture that the Interior Ministry is a leader in adopting technology in nearly all the services it provides.

“The ministry started issuing entry/exit visas electronically in 2009. It also introduced the fingerprint system and the smart national ID cards in the same year. A year later, it introduced the Absher platform,” he said.

“Absher will soon launch a new service called ‘Absher Government’ which will provide governmental entities with the services they need. We will also add more services and technologies to the Absher platform to meet people’s needs and ease their lives,” the assistant minister said. They were thinking of making Absher a giant platform like Google, he said.

The use of electronic services and smart solutions is the backbone for future government, he said. “Any economic, developmental and social success will be through depending mainly on these elements. We, in Saudi Arabia, have made great advances in this regard, in a way that complies with the country’s Vision 2030. Our achievements in this field harmonize with the rapid increase in deploying technology and knowledge.” 

The leadership has a clear vision and ambitious goals that will put Saudi Arabia among the developed countries in the world.

Replying to an Arab News question about how we can successfully manage the unstoppable flow of applications that may damage our cultural identity or do harm to our social fabric, the assistant minister said clear legislation can help control information and preserve the right of information owners, and this what will soon happen after the national privacy system is issued.

The minister said the total population of Saudi Arabia exceeded 33.2 million. “More than 30.2 million use the internet and 25 million are active internet users, and 18 million of Saudis are active mobile users.”