Confusing Signals

More than two years after publishing their first report, the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) published their second report, and I have to say that I am impressed. The report is written in a simple, clean, and professional language that should promote human rights principles among Saudi citizens.

The report criticized many government departments for their abuses of human rights, and also criticized the slow pace of reforms in judiciary as well as the performance of the Shoura Council. The full text of the report is available here (Arabic PDF). Arab News provides some highlights from the report.

I don’t think I need to talk in detail about the report. I already said that I was impressed and I really think the report speaks for itself. But I would like to point out to one interesting tidbit here.

As part of the remarks on the Shoura Council performance, the report called for electing the members instead of the current method of selection. The report also said there is a need to take effective steps to protect and promote women’s rights. But soon after the report was released, Interior Minister Prince Naif came out to say that Saudi Arabia has no need for women members of parliament or elections. Yesterday, Prince Naif was appointed as second deputy premier.

Now this is exactly the kind of mixed signals that makes the world question the commitment of our country to its much publicized reform plans, not to mention how it leaves the people confused about where their nation is heading. So what’s going on here? Frankly, I don’t get it. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

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28 thoughts on “Confusing Signals

  1. lol…. somebody’s needs to translate it ^^

    Though I’ll have to get back to you Ahmed after I read the document….(86 pages lol wwooo! O_o)

  2. Personally I don’t like the term ‘human’ rights because there really is no such thing. A better term would be ‘civil’ rights In the case of Saudi Arabia the basis for any kind of individual civil rights seems to be lacking. The society is still a monarchy that seems to govern based on tradtional alliances. That would be ok if Saudi Arabia was the way it was 70 years ago, a small country populated by Arab tribes, but Saudi Arabia is now populated by a large minority of foreign workers and since those workers have no place within the traditional system (family, tribe etc) they are prey for al sorts of things.

    I am not saying the Saudi Arabia is worse than any ten other countries in that part of the world, but that there is no real system for improvement.

  3. One should indeed question the commitment of the nation to any reforms.

    I certainly question any such commitment.

    Do we really and truly believe that the ulemaa are committed to any such reforms that would limit their power?

    And, if anyone does, what rational and factual basis do they have for such a belief?

  4. what about the Bai’a thing or whatever they call it??? Anyone with an answer.

    Did they just cancel it or change it or what is going on??????

  5. Anon:

    Thank you.

    I attribute it to an inability to express myself clearly.

    I would welcome suggestions as to a better term to use to mean — the clerical establishment that was not chosen by me or anyone whom I know yet seemingly has dominion over far too much of our daily life, and has the ability to use force and intimidation to accomplish its goals.

  6. And since Naif became the non official crown prince why should we complain? Us the clueless heathens who got no religion and God is not on their side but on the dark side of the moon.

    Good morning Vietnam, good morning doom.

  7. Hello Andrew

    “clerical establishment ” is probably the best phrase to use. This site attracts English speaking non-Muslims and using terms that are correct in Arabic, is probably not ideal here.

  8. Thank you.

    I will use that term.

    I am quite proficient in English (I believe) yet it remains a fact that there remain subtle points in which I am not as skilled.

    Thank you, Jerry M.

  9. Andrew,

    It was just an observation, certainly not a criticism, and there was no malice intended.
    And you do express yourself fairly well.

  10. Anon.

    Thank you!

    Yes, I read a great deal in English literature, so I am pleased that it has a positive effect.

    I refer to our clerical establishment a great deal, because I find it to be the cause of our greatest misfortunes.

    Our other problems, I believe, will remain insoluble without resolution of the question of the clerical establishment.

    That insolubility, in turn, detracts from our potential, of which we have great deal more than is commonly understood.

  11. and if a man of 53 years old have sex (rape) a girl of 9 because he said he is the perfect man and the prophet of stone god allah

    so he is not pedophile??

    have a brain ??

  12. Want elections? Want to see results like Gaza, or Algeria? Be careful what you wish for. Elections where 50% of the population cannot vote (women)? The solution for Saudi Arabia is not an American one, whatever it may best actually be. It must be local, and acceptable.

  13. Charles:

    I would remind everyone that no one here is calling for an American-style system.

    However, notwithstanding some commonalities, we also should not be likened to Algeria or Palestine.

    We are sufficiently distinct that we need not be compared to other nations, Arabic-speaking though they may be.

    Elections though can be useful, and should not be denigrated simply because they are not an elixir that solves all problems.

    However, an American-style system would not be remotely positive for our nation.

  14. It is assumed that Prince Naif will be the next King until King Abdullah outlive them all. Based on what’s known about Naif, will Saudi Arabia move forward with reforms or will it become more religious state like Afghanisran under the Taliban?

  15. When will be the time when I don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to bring my wife from her friend house..When will be the time when I don’t have to hire a driver, a stranger to live in my house all the time !

  16. I have one solution so women will drive in Saudi Arabia .This calls for other countries to cooperate ! Stop sending cheap labor to Saudi..If the man in Saudi is not able to hire a driver , he will ultimately let his wife drive..

  17. Denying women their natural, civil and human rights and forcefully forbid them from exploring their full potentials and participating fully in every aspect of their lagging society is more political and economic than religion and tradition as the autocratic-theocratic men blame for marginalizing and treating women as alien trespassers. Gender segregation falls in that category as well. Think of this: Recognizing women’s existence as full citizens (human beings), meet their full civil and citizenship needs such as full employment, high quality education, healthcare provisions, local, regional and national associations, high positions in government, full participation in the decision-making processes and most important, control over their fate, children’s education and proper rearing will require transformation of all Saudi institutions and power sharing.

    All communities, countries and nations have traditions, different religions and religious orientations, ethnicities and even different languages, yet women are not considered non-citizens in those communities. One vivid example of this is India, a nation of more than one billion people, yet it’s the biggest democracy and ranks among the most tolerant societies on earth. Like all peoples, the Saudi people are capable of readjusting, moving forward, working harder, thinking globally and building a strong, tolerant and inclusive society. One major step to start the process is the empowerment of Saudi women. There are enough educated, enlightened, capable and well to do Saudi women who can organize a peaceful, pragmatic and determined movement to liberate themselves and veer their country toward a better, safer, tolerant and brighter future. This can be done, especially if courageous and enlightened men march along side women. Domestic, regional and global realities demand an entirely different Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia plays major religious and economic roles in Muslims and non-Muslims lives; consequently the Saudi people cannot remain idle.

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