33% of reforms in Saudi Arabia cater to women’s rights: Official

Women in Saudi Arabia have had a significant share of human rights reforms that the Kingdom has approved in recent times, a senior official was quoted by the local media. Out of over 90 human rights reforms that the Kingdom has approved, 30 reforms cater to women and family alone, boosting women’s rights.

In a speech at the Saudi Family Forum 2021, Head of the Human Rights Commission, Dr Awwad Al Awwad said that there are several programs to support families including those for the women, the elderly and those with disabilities. Al Awwad hailed the recent changes as ‘historic’ and informed that there has been a significant decrease in cases of violence, issues of divorce, custody and alimony.

The Secretary-General of the Family Affairs Council, Dr. Hala Al Tu.waijri said that they worked on many steps including family counselling, providing support for the first 100 days of a child’s life, taking into account the child’s best interest in all procedures and legislations.

The Forum is one of the building blocks of awareness for the Saudi family and helps them to chart the right path to a better future.

“The radically new approach reflected in Vision 2030, the National Transformation Programme 2020, recognizes the need to encourage full female participation in the job market, which will drive the cultural changes needed to enable women to become both more economically productive and more independent,” Al Tuwaijri said.

Reforms for women have only come in recently with crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s plans to introduce a family law to safeguard women from facing discrimination and difficulties in marriage, divorce and all aspects involving their family.

A few of the many laws introduced and amended to suit a modern Saudi woman’s needs include rights of inheritance, enforcing court rulings regarding child custody and family law with the help of police. The laws also ensure that the man refusing to abide by these new reforms is brought to court, by force, and may also be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 months.