Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment

Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment
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Saudi women take part in the 87th National Day celebrations in Riyadh. (Reuters)
Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment
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King Salman has given the interior minister 60 days to draft the law. (Shutterstock)
Updated 30 September 2017

Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment

Saudi society welcomes new law criminalizing sexual harassment

JEDDAH: A new anti-harassment law has won praise from across Saudi Arabia after King Salman ordered the interior minister to criminalize sexual harassment.
The government has prepared a draft anti-harassment law to be implemented in 60 days, with jail terms and flogging being considered as possible penalties.
The move comes just days after a royal decree lifted the driving ban on women.
The latest royal decree stated that sexual harassment posed a great threat to women and families, and was “in contradiction of Islamic principles.”
The decree read: “Considering the dangers sexual harassment poses and its negative impact on the individual, the family and society along with its contradiction of Islamic principles, our customs and traditions … the ministry shall prepare a draft law to tackle sexual harassment.”
The move drew a very favorable reaction from Saudi society.
“The order of King Salman is good and laudable. It will definitely give protection to women ... from harassment by men,” said Khalil Al-Jehani, a practicing lawyer in the Saudi capital.
He added that the order is a further show of support for women after the decree lifting the ban on women driving.
In a 2014 study, nearly 80 percent of women aged 18 to 48 said they had been exposed to some form of sexual harassment.
Faisal M. Al-Mashouh, a lawyer and legal adviser, said the law would “be a road map to control existing relations in society and protect the rights of women.”
He said the law is “a qualitative leap for the rights of women in Saudi Arabia,” adding that in the past, they took a backseat in decision-making and were passive participants in nation-building. This is no longer the case, he said.
Women “have become members of the Shoura Council so their voice on vital issues is heard. They’ve also become heads of leading local corporations,” he said.
The new law will give women more self-confidence and courage to pursue their goals and be active participants in nation-building, as envisioned in Vision 2030, he added.
Many women took to Twitter to express their support for the new law, overjoyed at the prospect of more freedom and safety.
Farah Al-Jabr tweeted that she finally felt like a “human being.”
Maha Al-Fahad was overwhelmed at the events of the past few days, tweeting: “OK … If this is a dream, don’t wake me up.”
Others took the opportunity to ask for the reopening of cinemas as the next step.
Mueerah Al-Ibrahim said this week “was the most beautiful, historic week ever,” with @stgirlever tweeting: “Women driving: done. Anti-Harassment law: done. Cinema: soon. Please welcome the new Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
 


Saudi Arabia records 4 COVID-19 deaths, 223 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 4 COVID-19 deaths, 223 new cases
Updated 26 January 2021

Saudi Arabia records 4 COVID-19 deaths, 223 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 4 COVID-19 deaths, 223 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 203 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 78

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded four new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,359.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 223 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 366,807 people have now contracted the disease.
Of the total number of cases, 2,108 remain active and are still receiving medical care, with most in stable conditions, and 338 critical cases.

According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 78, followed by the Eastern Province with 45, Makkah with 34, Madinah recorded 16 and Qassim confirmed nine cases.
The ministry also announced that 203 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 358,340.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 99.8 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 2.14 million.