U.N. voices concern over Saudi arrest of women's rights activists
02 June, 2018, 03:56 | Author: Carlos George
While preceding the lifting of the driving ban, the law was introduced in the midst of a crackdown on women's rights activists.
Notably, the Saudi princess sits behind the wheel of a vintage red 1980s Mercedes 450 SL, making a clear statement that she's ready to be a part of the vanguard that drives her country forward. The legislation was prepared by the Ministry of Interior on the orders of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Some global human rights groups have criticized the authorities, saying there has been no real reform in Saudi Arabia.
The crackdown has sparked a torrent of global criticism, casting a shadow on the kingdom's much-publicised liberalisation push launched by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Discussing the new law against harassment, Al-Shaalan said on social media: "The anti-harassment law approved today is a very important addition to the history of the Kingdom's law and regulations, which fills a large legislative vacuum".
"We are also concerned by the apparent arbitrary detention and disappearances of other people, without explanation or apparent due process", Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a press conference in Geneva.
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Four activists have been released but up to seven others remain in detention.
The comments came a day after the United Nations called on Saudi Arabia to provide information about almost a dozen prominent activists - mostly women who for years urged reforms that are now being implemented - arrested this month.
Authorities have accused the activists of "suspicious contact with foreign parties", providing financial support to "enemies" and attempting to undermine the kingdom's "security and stability".
Aziza Yousef drives a auto on a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 29, 2014, as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving.
Among those still detained are Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, Mohammed al-Rabea, and Ibrahim al-Modaimeegh.
The anti-harassment law comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is facing criticism for detaining women's rights activists and branding them as traitors simply for their activism.
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