HRC Chief affirms Saudi Arabia’s resolve to protect human rights and respect cultural diversity
The Human Rights Commission President Dr. Hala Al-Tuwaijri affirmed Saudi Arabia’s determination to continue promoting and protecting human rights as well as to respect cultural diversity and equality between peoples in the light of international conventions and covenants.
“This is based on the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman to take care of people and give them priority,” she said.
Dr. Hala made the remarks while addressing the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. She is attending the current session, heading the Saudi delegation. The HRC chief highlighted the remarkable achievement made by Saudi Arabia in the empowerment of women. She said that the Kingdom has made great progress in recent years in the field of women’s empowerment, which was a strategic goal of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. It was adopted to increase their participation in the labor market, and a Gender Balance Center was established in 2021 in this regard. “As a result of these efforts, the share of women in the labor market increased from 21.2 percent to 34.7 percent and the rate of their economic participation jumped from 17 percent to 37 percent during the period between 2017 and 2022. The percentage of women’s representation in the higher and middle administrative positions increased from 28.6 percent to 39 percent during the 2017-2021 period,” she said.
At the outset of her speech, Dr. Hala said: “Today we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which represents the basis for all human rights. On this historic occasion, we affirm that the promotion and protection of human rights require relentless and continuous efforts, and to accomplish transformations on the ground to embody the objectives of this declaration.” “We in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are witnessing historical transformations in terms of many reforms and developments in various fields of human rights, which have had a great impact on development and the quality of life,” she pointed out.
The HRC chief noted what the Kingdom is witnessing today — within the framework of its Development Vision 2030 — of major and unprecedented reforms in various fields, the main focus of which is the human being. “Saudi Arabia has worked to develop its legislative system by issuing and amending many legislations, which included the Law of Evidence and the Civil Status Law and that work is currently underway to prepare draft Penal Law and Civil Transactions Law.”
With regard to the right to work, Dr. Hala said, the Kingdom recorded a significant decrease in the unemployment rate, falling from 11.6 percent to 5.8 percent during the period from 2016 to 2022. The national policy was also issued to encourage equal opportunities and equal treatment in employment and occupation, which aims to eliminate any discrimination in this field.
She noted the humanitarian efforts made by the Kingdom, including its keenness to stand by the earthquake-affected people of Syria and Turkey and its efforts to mitigate the effects of the devastating earthquake, which caused heavy losses of lives and property. “In this context, King Salman has directed the operation of an air bridge to provide health, shelter, food, and logistical aid, besides organizing a popular campaign to help the earthquake victims, of which the total collected aid has reached more than $160 million until this moment. “Based on the Kingdom’s firm values, its pioneering role, its endeavor to establish international peace and security, and the promotion of human rights, it spared no effort in supporting humanitarian issues, including the Kingdom's willingness to mediate in resolving the Russian-Ukrainian crisis,” she said while drawing attention to the successful mediation of the Crown Prince that resulted in the release of many prisoners and their return to their countries.
Dr. Hala expressed the Kingdom’s condemnation and denunciation of the burning and tearing up of copies of the Holy Qur’an by extremists in a number of European countries. She affirmed the need to adhere to the principles and provisions stipulated in international human rights standards, which prohibit any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.
The HRC chief called on the Human Rights Council to carry out its responsibilities towards improving the human rights situation in the world, in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, commitment to transparency and objectivity, and the promotion of a culture of tolerance. She stressed the Kingdom’s keenness on the need to give all human rights the same amount of attention so that no focus is placed on rights at the expense of others.