Kingdom to build IT center

Updated 23 January 2016

Kingdom to build IT center

RIYADH: In a major advancement in the telecommunication industry, the Kingdom will build a new center for development of telecommunications and information technology.
The agreement for the proposed center was signed between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Huawei company, global leader in the provision of solutions for information and telecommunication technology.
The MoU was signed by KACST President Prince Turki Saud bin Mohammed and President of Huawei in the Middle East Charles Yang in the presence of Chinese Ambassador to the Kingdom Li Chengwen, Ramadan Ding, CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia, and a number of officials.
“The establishment of the center comes as part of an understanding reached between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping to enable researchers in KACST and other educational and research institutions in the Kingdom to upgrade scientific innovation in the field of fourth and fifth generations of wireless network systems.
The prince said Huawei will work on the development of supporting wireless applications for the technology for the fourth generation broadband, or what is known as the LTE technology (Long Term Evolution), which would benefit the telecommunications companies, research centers and universities.
The project, he said will help Saudi researchers to work with Huawei telecommunication experts in the new technology.
In a brief speech, Yang said that Huawei has earned global fame in technological innovations such as 4G wireless technology. He added that cooperation with the KACST will boost the research in the field of communications and technology. He recalled that Huawei has been cooperating with the national research centers in the Kingdom, KACST and universities in the field telecommunications.
Anas Al-Faris, director of the Joint Centers of Excellence Program (JCEP) at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, said the center will pave the way for Saudi researchers to benefit from international expertise in the field of telecommunication technology.

Saudi rights body calls for law against underage marriages

Updated 12 November 2019

Saudi rights body calls for law against underage marriages

  • SHRC said it has studied the matter with a number of concerned agencies
  • SHRC said enacting such a law would protect children and maintain their rights

JEDDAH: The Saudi Human Rights Commission (SHRC), the Kingdom’s official human rights institution, has recommended the immediate issuing of a law to ban marriages to people under the age of 18.

It has also warned guardians that preventing daughters aged over 18 from getting married is a crime for which they will be held accountable.

The SHRC said it has studied the matter with a number of concerned agencies, and there are many negative effects of getting married under the age of 18.

It also noted that the Child Protection Law holds parents and caregivers accountable for children’s upbringing and protecting them from abuse.

Human rights activist Dr. Matouq Al-Sharif said the SHRC, in its statement, is drawing attention to practices by guardians that are contrary to international conventions, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by the Kingdom via the commission.

“Based on the Paris Principles, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993, the SHRC was granted the right to provide the (Saudi) government with advisory opinions, recommendations, proposals and reports,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.

He added that the SHRC is responsible for ensuring that national legislation, regulations and practices harmonize with the international human rights conventions that the Kingdom has signed.

“One of the tasks of this institution is to follow up on the implementation of such formal pacts, and make sure it is effective,” Al-Sharif said.

“From some people’s point of view, Islam gives a guardian the right to wed his daughter. They claim that the Prophet Mohammed married Aisha when she was still 9 or 11, according to some narratives,” Al-Sharif said.

“However, authentic senior Muslim scholars have denied that and said the prophet asked for her hand when she was at that age. They confirm that the wedding was when Aisha was no longer a child.”

The human rights activist noted that the SHRC’s statement is a message to the relevant authorities to enact a law that rejects ideas that are contrary to Islam.

Al-Sharif said that the commission has long sought to change the belief that under-age marriages are permissible.

“It has even interfered to stop a number of marriages to minors in different parts of the country. Moreover, it has issued a medical study in cooperation with the Health Ministry. The study highlighted the health risks to minors of such marriages,” he said.

According to Al-Sharif, the SHRC received a letter from the ministry stating that it had conducted a study on the issue and found serious health risks associated with such marriages.

“The Health Ministry … listed a number of health risks, including osteoporosis … due to lack of calcium, anaemia, abortions, acute high blood pressure that may lead to kidney failure, pelvis and spinal deformities, and many other risks,” he said.

In a statement posted on its Twitter account, the SHRC said enacting such a law would protect children and maintain their rights.

The statement added that many studies have proven that underage marriages have negative physical and psychological effects. It said local and international laws consider people under the age of 18 as children.

The SHRC also issued a statement describing families preventing their adult daughters from marrying as a clear violation of human rights.

The SHRC stressed that Saudi law criminalizes such actions, and that the appropriate authorities would deal with any reported cases. It added that under Shariah law, any woman experiencing such treatment could file a lawsuit.

It has called on relevant authorities to help raise awareness among women about their rights, and to highlight the penalties for those who violate the law.