Rising violence against kids triggers call to ‘act’

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Updated 01 March 2013
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Rising violence against kids triggers call to ‘act’

Twelve children died as a result domestic violence in 2012, double the number from the previous year, according to Maha Al-Muneef, executive director of the National Family Safety Program (NFSP).
These cases are recorded at hospitals’ protection centers, she said recently on the sidelines of the celebrations of the World Thinking Day for Girl Guides and Scouts.
The 12 deaths jumped dramatically from six child deaths in 2011 and five reported in 2010.
A recent report by hospitals protection centers showed center personnel recorded 200 cases of child abuse in one year. Eighty percent of the cases were violence against children that resulted in severe injuries, and 20 percent were sexual abuse incidents.
“Unfortunately violence against children is mostly perpetrated by the parents,” Al-Muneef said.
Al-Muneef said a recent study that included more than 58 countries showed that in seven years, the rate of domestic violence ranged between 3 percent and as high as 70 percent of the population.
“The Kingdom’s rate is between 20 percent and 30 percent, which should makes us work on facing the issue by all means to curb it,” she said. “The NSFP is working on eliminating physical, sexual, mental abuse and negligence.”
Most of those affected by these types of abuse are women, girls, children, the elderly and people with special needs. The seventh National Society for Human Rights’ report that showed that 20 percent of the cases received by the society in 2010 are of domestic violence, which is the highest the NSHR had received since its inception. In these cases, female victims numbered 57 while boys accounted for 25 cases.
Shoura Council member Thuraya Al-Oraidh said she hoped the issue of violence against children would be put for discussion at the council among other issues that are of concern of a large proportion of the society.
Cases of violence against children are not new but the media did not bring them up as most of individuals in society considered it a family affair.
However, given an increased public awareness that admits the problem, the media has focused on it currently, she said.
Al-Oraidh did not think that child abuse is increasing, but public awareness has improved reporting of such case.The National Family Safety Program recorded more than 500 cases of violence against children in 2011.
Hussien Al-Sharif, president of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), called for accelerating the issuance of the Violence Against Women and Children Act that criminalizes such acts. He said that the problem is becoming worse due to the delay in issuing the act although it was discussed in the Shoura Council. The implementation of the act that determines penalties and jurisdictions of all parties in such cases, including the criminalization of those who know about violence cases but do not report them, would solve the issue.


Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

AD DIRIYAH: The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”