Saudi Arabia affirms human rights commitment
President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission Hala Al-Tuwaijri affirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to enhancing and protecting human rights, as well as respecting cultural diversity and equality among peoples, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
Addressing high-level meetings of the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al-Tuwaijri, who headed the delegation representing the Kingdom, said: “Today marks the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which serves as the foundation for all human rights. As we recall this historic event, let us affirm that the promotion and protection of human rights require relentless and continuous efforts and the realization of transformations on the ground.
“We, in Saudi Arabia, are witnessing historical changes due to numerous reforms and advancements in a range of human rights areas that have significantly influenced growth and quality of life.”
She highlighted the significant and unprecedented reforms the Kingdom is undergoing as part of its development Vision 2030.
Al-Tuwaijri also said that the Kingdom has worked to develop its legislative system by issuing and amending numerous laws, including the law of evidence and the personal status system, and that work is taking place concerning two initiatives on civil transactions law and the penal code for discretionary sanctions.
According to Al-Tuwaijri, between 2016 and 2022, the Kingdom had a considerable drop in the unemployment rate from 11.6 percent to 5.8 percent. In order to eradicate any discrimination in this field, a national policy was also released to promote equal opportunity and equal treatment in the labor market.
The Kingdom has made significant strides recently in the field of women’s empowerment, as a strategic goal of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 was adopted to increase their participation in the labor market in addition to establishing a gender balance center in 2021, she said.
“Women’s participation in the labor force increased from 17 percent to 37 percent between 2017 and 2022, and their rate of economic participation increased from 28.6 percent to 39 percent between 2017 and 2021. Women’s representation in high and middle administrative positions also increased during this time, from 21.2 percent to 34.7 percent,” she said.
Al-Tuwaijri highlighted the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts to help earthquake victims in Turkiye and Syria, with total aid so far exceeding $160 million.
She said that the Kingdom is sparing no effort in supporting humanitarian issues, including its keenness to mediate in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis in addition to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s mediation in the release of a number of prisoners.
She expressed the Kingdom’s condemnation and denunciation of the burning and destruction of copies of the Holy Qur’an by a number of extremists in a number of EU states, asserting the Kingdom’s affirmation of the need to abide by the principles and regulations outlined in international human rights standards, which forbid any promotion of national, racial, or religious hatred that would constitute an incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
Al-Tuwaijri emphasized the Kingdom’s keenness of 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.
She urged the Human Rights Council to carry out its duties toward improving the global human rights situation in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, commitment to transparency and objectivity, and the promotion of a culture of tolerance.