When law meets technology
Religions have always emphasized the importance of community cohesion and urged cooperation among people.
In preparation for Eid Al-Fitr celebrations, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior recently launched an initiative, Forijat, that integrates law and technology.
The platform is accessed through the Abshar app for government services and allows public donations for people who have been imprisoned because they are unable to pay debts. What distinguishes this platform is its adoption of a formal mechanism for delivering donations to its beneficiaries
Within three days of the launch of the service on May 29, 200 prisoners were released, with a total debt repayment of more than SR6.6 million ($1.8 million). Donations targeted prisoners in financial, not criminal, cases.
The process starts by signing in to the donor account on the Abshar app. A payment number is allocated for each prisoner along with details of his case. After the donor completes the required steps, he receives a notification when the outstanding sum is repaid and the prisoner is then released.
Social networking sites show that people have welcomed the initiative in a way that reflects the Kingdom’s spirit of brotherhood and cooperation.
Such a grand initiative can form a significant part of national corporate social responsibility schemes. In the past two days we have also seen the participation of two banks in the initiative, and we look forward to greater involvement by the business community in achieving integration and cooperation in the community.
Donors should be aware that donations can be made only through the dedicated platform, and they should be wary of other unreliable donations.
Initiatives such as Forijat are an indirect way of raising awareness of the seriousness of debt, as well as the strict application of the law on the one hand, and the ethics and nobility of this people on the other.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal consultant, head of the health law department at the law firm of Majed Garoub and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif