Women, children target of domestic violence

Updated 23 October 2015
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Women, children target of domestic violence

JEDDAH: There were 961 cases of domestic violence reported by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Dammam last year.

This involved physical, psychological and sexual abuse of women and children over the course of the Islamic year that ended on Oct. 14, said Saeed Al-Ghamdi, director of the ministry’s branch in the Eastern Province.
Al-Ghamdi was quoted as saying by a local publication recently that ministry officials had also been involved in cases of women neglecting their children, people running away from home and suicide attempts.
He said the ministry had received 1,057 reports from the public about various forms of abuse, with 961 involving violence. Cases that did not fall within the jurisdiction of the ministry were referred to other agencies, he said.
“Most of the cases involved women and children being denied their basic lawful right to education and health care, or acquiring personal identification documents. Every individual case is addressed. Several cases were amicably resolved between the disputing parties,” said Al-Ghamdi.
He said that some cases were referred to the Eastern Province governorate because the victims did not respond to offers of assistance from the ministry. However, these only involved a few incidents, he said.
Ahmad Al-Shamaari, director of the social protection unit in Dammam, said: “The unit provides protection to women of all ages and children under 18 years of age, and to certain vulnerable groups exposed to abuse and domestic violence.”
He said a 24-hour call center on the number 1919 was established to receive reports on violence and abuse. Ministry officials are empowered to intervene quickly in cases of abuse in cooperation with public and private agencies, he said.
“The unit aims to spread awareness among members of the public on the importance of protecting family members against abuse and violence. It holds workshops and training courses for workers involved in these cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, the social protection unit honored Col. Yasser Al-Zahrani for the efforts throughout his tenure at the unit in the Eastern Province.


Misk Global Forum hears that it’s all about skills

Updated 21 min 59 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum hears that it’s all about skills

  • News has changed drastically, with audiences more digitally connected now getting their news through online platforms such as Twitter
  • The third annual Misk Global Forum, with the theme Skills for Our Tomorrow, is taking place place at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on Wednesday and Thursday

RIYADH: As the moderator of the first session, “It’s All About Skills,” at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday, Arab News’ editor in chief Faisal J Abbas began by holding up the morning’s newspaper: “Two years ago people used to read the news like this,” he said.

But as he pointed out, the news has changed drastically, with audiences more digitally connected now getting their news through online platforms such as Twitter.

With media tweeting out his comments, Abbas began introducing his guests: Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development; Shaima Hamidaddin, executive manager of the Misk Global Forum; Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary general’s envoy on youth from Sri Lanka; and Sue Siegel, chief innovation officer for General Electric.

Abbas asked Al-Rajhi how the government was tackling the challenge of finding jobs for youth. “With Vision 2030 programs (that) are happening today, we have a lot of initiatives and there is potential,” the minister said. “We all need to work together and collaborate with the education system, employers that create the jobs and the ministry to give a clear direction of where we are going today.”

Asked whether job creation is considered a worldwide issue, the UN envoy on youth confirmed it’s not just a regional concern. “It is not a national or regional issue but a global one: Our world is younger than it has ever been before. I’d like to look at this as an opportunity to achieve sustainability.”

Wickramanayake said out that by 2030, South Asia and Africa will supply 60 percent of the world’s workforce. “We have a large majority of young people that are working but still live in poverty,” she said, and it’s important to invest in them. “If we are serious then this is the time to make those investments: to be productive citizens and employees and employers.”

One of the groups making those sorts of investments in Saudi Arabia is the Misk Foundation, the forum’s organizer, which was founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2011. Hamidaddin pointed out that the foundation plays a complementary role, bridging gaps and working with partners to help equip young people with skills.  

Abbas asked the question that’s on everyone’s minds these days: Are machines going to take over our jobs? Siegel said everybody looks at artificial intelligence and thinks it means machines will take over our jobs, but it will actually enable productivity and create new jobs by taking over the more mundane ones. She pointed out that everyone thought computers would take our jobs, but they just augmented what we do.

When asked about the Arab world’s perception that international companies don’t care about the region, Seigel said that just isn’t so. “It’s inaccurate,” she said. “We have been in the Kingdom for over 80 years. Seventy percent of our business is out of the US. We have 4,000 employees here. The success of the country is the success of our company. We are pleased with the progress we have made here. “

When it comes to preparing Saudi youth for the jobs of the future, Al-Rajhi said a governmental committee formed by five ministers is looking at how well education is preparing them for it.

Speaking up from the audience, Saudi Education Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa took the mic: “It’s the easiest thing to criticize the education system, but we can see that all the people here are from education,” he said. “In general, we are reviewing all the education aspects in terms of curriculum or skills that (they) should require. We are also reviewing the specification of the needs of the labor market and education system. “

Al- Rajhi said the skills youth need for the future are definitely changing, stressing the need for problem solving, conversational skills and teamwork.

Abbas asked panelists to describe in one word what skills were needed for the future.

“Agility,” Hamidaddin said.

“The ability to learn,” said Siegel.

Wickramanayake said it’s a holistic approach and that we need to talk about skills development as a package for human beings.

And Al-Rajhi went with innovation. “Try to be always innovative or at least adaptable to innovation - in my opinion this is key to success,” he concluded.

Taking it back to his opening remarks, Abbas wrapped up the session by telling the audience to read about it on arabnews.com, prompting laughter from the audience.

The third annual Misk Global Forum, with the theme Skills for Our Tomorrow, is taking place place at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center on Wednesday and Thursday.