Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

King Salman appoints 13 women to Saudi Human Rights Commission

Women have assumed a more prominent role in the kingdom after sweeping reforms in recent years

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has been admitted to hospital in Riyadh for medical tests. Reuters 
Saudi Arabia's King Salman has been admitted to hospital in Riyadh for medical tests. Reuters 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed 13 women to the kingdom’s Human Rights Commission, giving them equal representation with men.

The appointments were announced in a royal decree constituting the rights body for its fourth four-year term.

The HRC President Dr Awwad Al Awwad welcomed the appointments, saying this would further the Saudi government's efforts to empower women by giving them leadership positions in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Dr Al Alwwad thanked the Saudi king and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the kingdom’s deputy prime minister and minister of defence, for the royal order restructuring the HRC for its fourth term.

Saudi Arabia has implemented wide-ranging reforms that have allowed women a more prominent role in society over the past few years. One of the most prominent changes was the lifting of the driving ban in June 2018.

The sweeping social reforms are part of Crown Prince Mohammed's drive to modernise the kingdom and move it away from a dependence on oil revenue.

Part of the plan is encouraging Saudi women to join the labour force as he forges an economy not dependent on oil revenue.

Last August Saudi authorities said women would no longer need the permission of male guardians to travel or obtain a passport after decrees issued by King Salman.

The former system required women to seek permission of their guardian – usually their father or husband, but sometimes a brother or son – to marry, apply for a passport and leave the country.

The amendments also grant women the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce, and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.

Women will also no longer need permission from a male guardian to study at university, undergo surgery or get a job.

The Ministry for Labour and Social Development issued a raft of directives regarding the working environment for women, including the demand that women are paid equally with men.

Updated: July 3, 2020 02:17 PM

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