Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling
Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh chairs a remote session of the council as a health precaution in Riyadh. (SPA/File)
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Updated 01 October 2020

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling
  • It will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools

JEDDAH: Violations of Saudi Arabia’s anti-sexual harassment laws could be punished by “naming and shaming” following a decision by the Kingdom’s Shoura Council to approve a defamation penalty.

The council voted in favor of the penalty during its session on Wednesday after previously rejecting the move in March this year.

Council member Latifah Al-Shaalan said the proposal to include the penalty was sent by the Saudi Cabinet.

Saudi lawyer Njood Al-Qassim said she agrees with the move, adding that it will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools.

“The penalty will be imposed according to a court ruling under the supervision of judges, and according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society,” Al-Qassim told Arab News.

“This will be a deterrent against every harasser and molester,” she said.

Al-Qassim said that legal experts are required to explain the system and its penalties to the public.

“The Public Prosecution has clarified those that may be subject to punishment for harassment crimes, including the perpetrator, instigator and accessory to the crime, the one who agreed with the harasser, malicious report provider, and the person who filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit,” she added.

“The Public Prosecution also confirmed that attempted harassment requires half the penalty prescribed for the crime,” said Al-Qassim.

In May 2018, the Shoura Council and Cabinet approved a measure criminalizing sexual harassment under which offenders will be fined up to SR100,000 ($26,660) and jailed for a maximum of two years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

In the most severe cases, where the victims are children or disabled, for example, violators will face prison terms of up to five years and/or a maximum penalty of SR300,000.

Incidents that have been reported more than once will be subject to the maximum punishment. 

The law seeks to combat harassment crimes, particularly those targeting children under 18 and people with special needs.

Witnesses are also encouraged to report violations and their identities will remain confidential.

The law defines sexual harassment as words or actions that hint at sexuality toward one person from another, or that harms the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way. It takes into account harassment in public areas, workplaces, schools, care centers, orphanages, homes and on social media.

“The legislation aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom which are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations,” a statement from the Shoura Council said.

Council member Eqbal Darandari, who supports the law, said on Twitter that the defamation penalty has proven its effectiveness in crimes in which a criminal exploits a person’s trust.

“The defamation of one person is a sufficient deterrent to the rest,” she said.

Social media activist Hanan Abdullah told Arab News the decision “is a great deterrent for every harasser since some fear for their personal and family’s reputation, and won’t be deterred except through fear of defamation.”

The move will protect women from “uneducated people who believe that whoever leaves her house deserves to be attacked and harassed,” she said.

“Anyone who is unhappy with this decision should look at their behavior.”


Saudi Volunteer Day strengthens the values of citizenship and giving

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal is to have 1 million male and female volunteers by the end of the decade. (SPA)
Updated 06 December 2020

Saudi Volunteer Day strengthens the values of citizenship and giving

Saudi Volunteer Day strengthens the values of citizenship and giving
  • Saudi Volunteer Day is part of the ministry’s initiatives related to volunteer work, including launching the Voluntary Work Platform on March 31

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia celebrated International Volunteer Day on Saturday by launching Saudi Volunteer Day to strengthen the values of volunteer work included in the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal to have 1 million male and female volunteers by the end of the decade.
The event, titled “Ataa Watan” (A Country’s Giving) is supported by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, and covers all 13 regions of the Kingdom, to spread awareness about the positive impact of volunteer work on the individual and society.
Starting from this year, to be held for three consecutive years, the ministry aims to boost volunteer work, with the event accompanied by a guidebook.
Saudi Volunteer Day is part of the ministry’s initiatives related to volunteer work, including launching the Voluntary Work Platform on March 31. The ministry launched a number of new initiatives as part of Saudi Volunteer Day 2020, including the Health Awareness Initiative, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, targeting the whole of Saudi society.

FASTFACT

International Volunteer Day is an international event launched in 1985 by the UN and held on Dec. 5 of every year, to appreciate and thank volunteers all over the world for their work and efforts, and to strengthen the culture of volunteering.

It also launched the Restoring and Rehabilitating Residences and Buildings Initiative, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, with the aim of repairing, restoring and refurbishing the houses of families in need and those belonging to people with low incomes, as well as carrying out restoration and decoration work at sites in public places, including schools and mosques.
The ministry also launched the Afforestation Initiative, which aims to boost the efforts of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia to fight desertification and plant 12 million trees by 2020 in various regions of the Kingdom. This initiative is organized in collaboration with various agricultural societies, plant nurseries, farms, Scout groups, volunteer teams in universities and education administrations, and volunteering societies.
International Volunteer Day is an international event launched in 1985 by the UN and held on Dec. 5 of every year, to appreciate and thank volunteers all over the world for their work and efforts, and to strengthen the culture of volunteering.