RIYADH: Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, head of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, delivered a speech on Thursday in which he asserted that Saudi Arabia is determined to continue to protect and promote human rights and encourage sustainable development.
Al-Aiban was addressing the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in a session to discuss the additional report presented by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Saudi Arabia and the UN’s recommendations on human rights.
He stressed that Saudi Arabia was taking a balanced approach “between achieving the best systems and practices in the field of human rights and the right to the development and preservation of the values of Saudi society.”
He added that the Kingdom’s legal system exercises its authority in accordance with the internationally recognized principles of the independence of the judiciary, and that it has “all the elements and standards of justice, transparency and integrity, and operates as an independent authority.”
Al-Aiban said that the Kingdom’s progress in protecting and promoting human rights are “ongoing,” adding that Saudi Arabia believes the development of the awareness of human rights at official and social levels is a fundamental pillar of that progress.
With regard to recommendations on fair trials and criminal justice, Al-Aiban stated that there are no secret prisons and detention centers in the Kingdom. Such places are prohibited by Saudi law, he explained, adding that the prisons and detention centers in the Kingdom are monitored by the Public Prosecution, the Human Rights Commission, the National Society for Human Rights and other relevant bodies. Eight recommendations had been approved and two partially approved, he declared.
Concerning the recommendations made by a number of states regarding the death of Saudi citizen and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Al-Aiban said the Kingdom considered this incident to be a “heinous and regrettable act” and that it had taken the necessary measures to deal with the case, in accordance with constitutional principles and the law.
Al-Aiban stated that the Public Prosecution has initiated an investigation into this case, as the competent authorities are entrusted to collect necessary information and evidence for the investigation and indictment.
With regard to some media statements to internationalize some procedures related to this case, the Kingdom categorically rejects this act, calling on all parties to lend respect to the Kingdom’s sovereignty and independence of its judiciary in extending its jurisdiction over all cases within its competency and dash out skepticism on the integrity of its judiciary’s independence and safety of legal procedures.