UN panel assails Saudi Arabia over child, women’s rights

In a searing report released Thursday, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CHC) recommended Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system review and modify its existing civil code in the administration of minors.

According to the findings in the UN committee’s report, which examines children’s rights, details positive developments, main areas of concern, and recommendations for action, the CHC has called on the Saudi kingdom to “without any further delay . . . to unambiguously prohibit the imposition of death sentence on children.

“The possibility of imposing the death penalty on children is still in place and that is a very serious concern,” said Jorge Cardona, a member of the UN committee.

Under current Saudi law, minors classified as under age 18 convicted for offenses are often exposed to punishments including stoning, flogging, amputation, and execution.

The UN panel’s findings also revealed in Saudi Arabia, minors as young as age 15 are known to be tried as adults.

Further, the committee also chastised Saudi Arabia’s practice of punishment for offenses with flogging, limb amputation and stoning.  The committee insisted Riyadh “repeal all provisions contained in legislation” to bring to an end such penalties.

Similarly, the UN committee criticized the Saudis for a refusal to grant equal rights to females and censured the practice of male domination over females, known as male guardianship.

Refusing to be condemned unheard, Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, responded to the committee justifying Islamic law.

No authority in the State has the power to modify or suspend the punishment prescribed for crimes of qisas (murder and assault) and crimes of hudud (those for which there are specified penalties in the Quran and Sunna), as these are categorically set forth in Islamic sharia and leave no leeway for interpretation,” Al-Aiban said

“Islamic sharia (law) was above all laws and treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” he concluded.


[RT News] [Photo courtesy EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak via The Sun]