New law in Saudi Arabia strengthens rights of individuals with disabilities

Hisham Al-Haidary, CEO of the Authority for the Care of People with Disabilities. (Supplied)
Hisham Al-Haidary, CEO of the Authority for the Care of People with Disabilities. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 August 2023
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New law in Saudi Arabia strengthens rights of individuals with disabilities

Hisham Al-Haidary, CEO of the Authority for the Care of People with Disabilities. (Supplied)
  • Hisham Al-Haidary: “This law aims to protect and improve the rights of the concerned people and ensure their access to all services, like others”

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers has approved a law regarding the rights of people with disabilities.

Hisham Al-Haidary, CEO of the Authority for the Care of People with Disabilities, said the new law was prepared in accordance with the needs of individuals with disabilities and to serve as a foundation for their rights across various fields.

Al-Haidary told Arab News: “This law improves the quality of services provided to the concerned people, such as the ability to enjoy their rights related to education, health, and employment, in addition to entertainment, culture, and sports.

“This law has taken into account all the laws that guarantee human rights, and the legal aspects, social aspects, disability discrimination, and violations and penalties related to it.”

HIGHLIGHT

The law promotes the use of appropriate methods of communication, such as verbal or written communication, sign language, or other means, to effectively engage with individuals with disabilities.

He added that the authority collaborated with various government sectors to prepare the law, which aims to establish a clear and robust foundation that promotes independence, integration and empowerment, and raises awareness among individuals regarding their rights related to disabilities.

He said: “This law aims to protect and improve the rights of the concerned people and ensure their access to all services, like others.”

The law is based on fundamental principles revolving around non-discrimination based on disability, and ensuring that the needs of individuals with disabilities are considered in all government and non-government legislation, strategies, policies, activities, programs, plans, and designs.

Additionally, the law grants individuals who have reached the age of majority the right to directly engage in legal action, unless their disability prevents them from doing so under relevant legal provisions.

It also emphasizes the importance of training staff members on the needs of individuals with disabilities and raising awareness about their rights. It further highlights the need to provide accessibility requirements and facilitation arrangements.

The law encourages the active participation of individuals with disabilities in managing their own affairs, in accordance with the governing provisions.

It also promotes the use of alternative and appropriate methods of communication, such as verbal or written communication, sign language, or other means, to effectively engage with individuals with disabilities.

 

 


Eastern Province, Qassim, Riyadh brace for heavy downpours, hailstorms

Eastern Province, Qassim, Riyadh brace for heavy downpours, hailstorms
Updated 59 min 19 sec ago
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Eastern Province, Qassim, Riyadh brace for heavy downpours, hailstorms

Eastern Province, Qassim, Riyadh brace for heavy downpours, hailstorms
  • NCM forecast heavy rains, high-speed winds, hail storms in these regions on Tuesday
  • Schools closed, online classes in parts of Kingdom due to inclement weather

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will receive more rainfall on Tuesday with the Eastern Province, Al-Qassim region and the capital Riyadh and its outskirts likely to witness heavy rains, accompanied by high-speed winds, hail and subsequent lack of visibility, according to the forecast of the National Center of Meteorology.

The NCM forecast for Tuesday said: “There will be high speed wind, sandstorms followed by heavy rain and hailstorm in Qassim, Riyadh, Eastern Province, Northern Border region and Hail.

“Eastern Province, Qassim and Riyadh will record low temperatures, and there is a possibility of flash floods in these areas,” it added.

Hussein Al-Qahtani, spokesperson of the NCM, called for utmost caution and vigilance due to the weather fluctuations in these regions.

“Manifa in the Eastern Province exceeded 42 mm of rain within an hour, and the chances of rain continue in the affected areas. We call on everyone to be careful and monitor weather information across the center, given the weather fluctuations affecting the areas in the Kingdom,” said Al-Qahtani.

Following inclement weather, education authorities in several parts of Saudi Arabia suspended in-person classes on Tuesday and ordered schooling to be shifted online.

The suspension was announced for classes in the Eastern Province, Al-Qasim and Unaizah in central Saudi Arabia and Hafr Al-Batin in the Kingdom’s northeast.

A similar measure was taken for schools in some governorates in the Riyadh region including Wadi Al-Dawasir, Afif, Dawadmi, Al-Aflaj, Al-Zulfi, Shaqra, Al-Ghat and Al-Majma’ah, based on forecast issued by the NCM, to ensure safety of students and staff.

According to the NCM forecast Najran, Jazan, and Aseer regions will experience high speed wind and moderate rainfall.

Cities in the Eastern Province were lashed by heavy-to-torrential rains on Monday while the NCM forecast rainy weather to continue in the region, accompanied by strong winds, low-visibility, hailstorms, thunderstorms and flash flood.

Amid unstable weather in the Gulf region, rainy low pressure hit Oman earlier this week, and the UAE on Monday, causing floods, and it could extend further afield.

The Saudi Civil Defense and the traffic authorities have warned motorists of the risk of cars skidding during rainfall, and advised residents to be careful while going out.

The General Directorate of Saudi Civil Defense warned people to be cautious of potential dangers as the NCM has forecast the poor weather conditions to continue.

The directorate said on Tuesday that forecasts from the NCM indicate heavy to moderate rains across the Kingdom.

“The Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions as we see the weather in the Eastern Province. Your cooperation is needed. Your safety is our goal,” it said.


WFP welcomes funding from KSrelief to combat malnutrition in Sudan and South Sudan

WFP welcomes funding from KSrelief to combat malnutrition in Sudan and South Sudan
Updated 49 min 49 sec ago
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WFP welcomes funding from KSrelief to combat malnutrition in Sudan and South Sudan

WFP welcomes funding from KSrelief to combat malnutrition in Sudan and South Sudan
  • The funding will benefit over 35,000 children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers affected by conflict, economic instability, and climate-related disasters

RIYADH: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has signed two agreements worth a total of US$1.4 million with Saudi Arabia.

These agreements aim to provide treatment and prevention measures for malnutrition in Sudan and South Sudan.

The funding will benefit over 35,000 children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers affected by conflict, economic instability, and climate-related disasters. Specifically, it will aid nearly 29,000 individuals in Sudan and close to 6,000 individuals in South Sudan.

Michael Dunford, WFP's Regional Director for the East Africa region, emphasized the importance of this funding, especially given the dire situation unfolding in Sudan, which is on the brink of becoming one of the world's largest hunger crises. He stressed the urgency of addressing malnutrition to prevent needless deaths and mitigate the long-term consequences of childhood malnutrition.

The agreements were formalized during a pledging conference for the Sudan crisis in Paris, where WFP's Executive Director, Cindy McCain, and Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Royal Court Advisor and Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), signed the documents.

Dr. Abdullah Al Moallem, Director of KSRelief's Health and Environmental Aid Department, reaffirmed their commitment to supporting vulnerable populations in Sudan and South Sudan. He highlighted the importance of these projects in providing emergency nutritional aid to children and pregnant or lactating women, which will ultimately contribute to combating famine and malnutrition in both countries.

In Sudan, nearly 4.9 million children under five and pregnant or breastfeeding women face acute malnutrition—a 22% increase from the previous year. South Sudan is also grappling with high malnutrition rates, with approximately 1.6 million children and 870,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women expected to be malnourished this year.


Pakistani premier says Saudi FM’s visit heralds ‘new era’ of strategic, commercial partnership

Pakistani premier says Saudi FM’s visit heralds ‘new era’ of strategic, commercial partnership
Updated 16 April 2024
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Pakistani premier says Saudi FM’s visit heralds ‘new era’ of strategic, commercial partnership

Pakistani premier says Saudi FM’s visit heralds ‘new era’ of strategic, commercial partnership
  • Saudi foreign minister’s visit comes a little over a week after Saudi crown prince met Pakistani PM in Makkah
  • Crown prince has reaffirmed commitment to expedite investment worth $5 billion that was previously discussed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday the ongoing visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan to Islamabad would herald a new era of strategic and commercial partnerships between the two long-time allies.

The Saudi foreign minister arrived in Islamabad on Monday on a two-day visit aimed at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation and pushing forward previously agreed investment deals. His trip comes a little over a week after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Sharif in Makkah and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to expedite investments worth $5 billion that were previously discussed.

“The visit is the beginning of a new era of strategic and commercial partnership between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” Sharif was quoted as saying in a statement from his office after he met Prince Faisal. “Pakistan wants to further promote cooperation in the fields of trade and investment between the two countries.”

The PM said Pakistan was taking steps to promote foreign investment and make partnerships “mutually beneficial” for allies, adding that Islamabad was grateful to the Saudi leadership for increasing investment.

Informing the Saudi delegation about the wide potential of investment in Pakistan, Sharif briefed them about the Special Investment Facilitation Council and measures the body was taking to promote investment. The body was set up last year to oversee all foreign funding.

Sharif also invited the Saudi crown prince to Islamabad.

“The people of Pakistan are looking forward to the visit of His Highness the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Pakistan,” the PM's office said.

'Investment Push'

In a statement shared with media on Monday, the Pakistan information ministry said the Saudi delegation would consult with Pakistani officials “on the next stages of investment and implementation issues.”

Saudi Arabia’s planned investment in the Reko Diq gold and copper mining project would also be discussed during the visit, the ministry said, a day after Pakistani state media reported Saudi Arabia was likely to invest $1 billion in the mine project in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas.

Riyadh was also interested in investing in agriculture, trade, energy, minerals, IT, transport and other sectors in Pakistan, the statement said.

“As a result of this visit, Pakistan’s export capacity will increase, joint ventures will be launched and new opportunities will be paved.”

The Pakistani foreign office has said the Saudi foreign minister is expected to hold meetings with the Pakistani PM, president and members of the apex committee of Pakistan’s Special Investment Facilitation Council.

The Pakistani and Saudi foreign ministers will also address a joint press conference after a bilateral meeting scheduled for 4pm.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong trade, defense and cultural ties. The Kingdom is home to over 2.7 million Pakistani expatriates and the top source of remittances to the cash-strapped South Asian country.

Cash-strapped Pakistan desperately needs to shore up its foreign reserves and signal to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it can continue to meet requirements for foreign financing that has been a key demand in previous bailout packages. Pakistan’s finance minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, is currently in Washington to participate in spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and discuss a new bailout program. The last loan deal expires this month.

Saudi Arabia has often come to cash-strapped Pakistan’s aid in the past, regularly providing it oil on deferred payments and offering direct financial support to help stabilize its economy and shore up its forex reserves.


Saudi Arabia did not participate in intercepting Iranian attacks on Israel – sources

Saudi Arabia did not participate in intercepting Iranian attacks on Israel – sources
Updated 16 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia did not participate in intercepting Iranian attacks on Israel – sources

Saudi Arabia did not participate in intercepting Iranian attacks on Israel – sources
  • Israeli news websites have alleged Kingdom participated in recent defense coalition that confronted Iranian attacks
  • Iran launched drones and missiles toward Israel on Saturday evening into Sunday morning in response to Israeli strikes

RIYADH: Informed sources denied to Al Arabiya on Monday Saudi Arabia’s participation in intercepting Iranian drones during its attack on Israel on Saturday.

Israeli news websites had published statements attributed to an official Saudi website stating that the Kingdom participated in the recent defense coalition that confronted the Iranian attacks.

“There is no official website that published a statement about Saudi participation in intercepting attacks against Israel,” the sources told Al Arabiya.

Iran launched drones and missiles toward Israel on Saturday evening into Sunday morning and described the attack as a response to several crimes, including the strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1.

Tehran indicated that the attack targeted military targets, while the Israeli army announced that it intercepted 99 percent of the Iranian missiles.


Saudi king, crown prince send condolences to Sultan of Oman after flood deaths

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 16 April 2024
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Saudi king, crown prince send condolences to Sultan of Oman after flood deaths

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
  • A group of school children and a driver died when their vehicle was overtaken

RIYADH: King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday sent cables of condolences to Sultan Haitham bin Tariq after 17 people died in flooding in several parts of Oman.

The Saudi leaders sent their sincerest condolences to the sultan, and the families of the deceased, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

A group of school children and a driver died when their vehicle was overtaken, authorities said.
Civil defense officials gave the death toll for the rains, which saw Oman’s North Al Sharqiyah province hardest hit. The Royal Oman Police and the Omani military deployed to the province to transport citizens out of flooded areas

Heavy rainfall often causes flash flooding in the sultanate, drawing the curious from their homes to nearby dry riverbeds, known in Arabic as “wadi.” In flooding, they can quickly fill and wash away people and vehicles.

— with input from The Associated Press