How KSA fights scourge of racism

The Saudi Shoura Council has passed laws against racism and discrimination. (SPA file photo)
Updated 01 March 2018
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How KSA fights scourge of racism

JEDDAH: There is racism and discrimination in every country with an ethnically diverse population. Saudi Arabia deals with it in two ways: By fostering pride in the homeland regardless of ethnic origin — and through the force of the law.
Offenders, however high-profile, may be punished and excluded from media platforms. King Salman’s nephew was banned from media after describing someone as “tarsh bahar” — an offensive term for people whose ancestors came to Hijaz from across the sea.
Last November the Shoura Council began studying a 13-article draft law that criminalizes all forms of discrimination against individuals and groups because of their skin color, gender, ethnicity or sect, and outlaws the spread of tribal, regional, sectarian, political and ideological prejudices.
“This regulation is currently being studied by the Islamic affairs committee at the Shoura in order to launch it very soon,” Dima Talal Al-Sharif, of the law firm Majed M. Garoub, told Arab News.
“And under article 3 of the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, defamation and inflicting damage upon others through social media are punishable by imprisonment for up to a year up and/or a fine of up to 500,000 riyals.”
Dr. Mohammed Faheem, professor of comparative education at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, told Arab News social and economic factors were the main reasons for discrimination in society.
“The Makkah community is diverse and integrated, people used to live simple lives under similar circumstances,” he said. “But the demographic situation has changed, and with urban expansion the face of the city has changed.
“Discrimination is happening in Saudi Arabia, no doubt about that, but it is not as it was in the US and South Africa. There is a huge difference. There, it was in the form of institutional and organizational actions against people of a certain group.
“We don’t have this in Saudi Arabia, we do not have racial oppression. But it is people’s stereotyping and intolerance that may result in racist action that denies someone his rights.
“When one person believes that the group of people he belongs to is superior to others, and that belief is translated into an action against others, that is where discrimination begins. Ideas cannot be harmful until they become actions.
“People must feel that they belong to one homeland, equal in rights and duties.”


Saudi Military Industries signs warships JV, corvettes with Spain’s Navantia

Updated 19 July 2018
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Saudi Military Industries signs warships JV, corvettes with Spain’s Navantia

  • The program will start this autumn with the last unit to be delivered by 2022
  • The contract will generate 6,000 direct and indirect jobs for five years

RIYADH: State-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) signed an agreement with Spain’s Navantia to set up a joint venture in the Kingdom to build five warships, the state news agency SPA reported on Thursday.
The deal is part of a wider framework agreed in April by Spain and Saudi Arabia for Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia to supply warships to the Gulf Arab state under a deal estimated to be worth around 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

SPA said the agreement between SAMI and Navantia was for the design and construction of five Avante 2200 Corvettes under a program that would start this autumn, with the last unit due to be delivered by 2022. It gave no value for the deal.
In line with the contract, SAMI said the joint venture would “localize more than 60 percent of ships combat systems works,” including installation and integration in the Saudi market, perfectly aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, by localizing 50% of total military spending by 2030.
The contract will generate 6,000 direct and indirect jobs for five years, as follows: 1,100 direct jobs, more than 1,800 from the auxiliary industry, and more than 3,000 indirect jobs generated by other suppliers.
In this respect, the JV will focus on program management and combat system integration and installation, system engineering, system architecture, hardware design, software development, testing and verification, prototyping, simulation, modelling, and through-life support.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of Saudi Arabian Military Industries, said: “SAMI remains committed to being a key enabler of the Saudi Vision 2030, and the establishment of this Joint Venture with Navantia will localize more than 60% of ship combat systems work including, installation, and integration, which contribute to the Kingdom’s objective to be at the forefront of shaping the local military industries ecosystem. We will continue to explore collaborations and leverage partnerships that meet our key mandate to localize more than half of the Kingdom’s total military spending.”
Esteban Garcia Vilasanchez, Chairman of Navantia, said: “Navantia is very happy with the signature of this contract that means a starting point for the collaboration with Saudi Arabia. Navantia is committed to contributing to Saudi Vision 2030 and will support the country in this endeavour. The JV between SAMI and Navantia is an opportunity to develop capabilities in the country and jointly explore future opportunities.”
For the Avante 2200 contract, the JV will be responsible, among others, of supplying the Combat System of all five ships. Corvettes 4th and 5th will be finalized and delivered to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the JV will do the installation, integration and test of the complete Combat System.

Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), launched SAMI last year as part of a government plan to diversify the economy, reduce reliance on oil export revenues and create jobs.
SAMI aims to contribute more than 14 billion riyals ($3.7 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product by 2030, according to SPA.