In this article, we will discuss the Human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, how its previous UPR recommendations were implemented, and the Recommendations made during the current cycle. In addition, we will discuss future plans for the country. This report was prepared by Amnesty International, which aimed to provide guidance to the government of Saudi Arabia regarding the rights of individuals.
Human rights situation in Saudi Arabia
The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is deteriorating. Despite the country’s recent reforms, the government continues to restrict the rights of women, particularly in marriage and divorce. Women are still unable to travel, work, or get certain healthcare services without the consent of a male guardian. In addition, men can file lawsuits against female relatives who are under guardianship for “disobedience,” and they can force them to return to their father’s house.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UN Human Rights Council) has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia to end its repression of human rights defenders. The government’s failure to address the complaints of human rights defenders is one of the major factors affecting the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. The country’s legal system is also severely flawed. The absence of a comprehensive criminal code and constitution leaves it vulnerable to arbitrary prosecution of peaceful activists and dissidents. For these reasons, deep structural reform is essential. In the meantime, the government must release all prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders.
Raif’s case has caused headlines worldwide. The case has exposed the appalling human rights record of Saudi Arabia. Many people are still sentenced to death after unfair trials, and the country continues to use corporal punishment. This is inhumane, degrading, and cruel. Recent examples of executions include human rights defenders, as well as a domestic worker in the Philippines.
Progress made since its last UPR
The UPR process consists of a two-step process. The first step is to identify a country’s review date. The next step is to identify a process for reporting on the results of its review. The UNCTs serve as support for states and other actors to engage in the UPR process. They can help guide the process by providing technical assistance and capacity-building, and by convening dialogues between governments and NGOs.
The third step in the UPR process focuses on China. It is a review of progress made since the last review. China was first reviewed in 2009. The report is now ready to be adopted by the Human Rights Council. The Council is facilitated by Coly Seck, President of the Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN Office in Geneva. The Chinese delegation was led by Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng.
The UPR review is an interactive dialogue between the NHRIs, member and observer states and the Human Rights Council. Written submissions are publicly available on the UPR website prior to the review, and all Working Group sessions are broadcast live on the UN Web TV. In addition, NHRIs with “A” status have the opportunity to address the Human Rights Council plenary session directly, or via video teleconference.
Recommendations made during this cycle
The third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review has seen an increase in the number of recommendations made and accepted by states. Among the changes noted are increased reporting to treaty bodies and commitments to make standing invitations to Special Procedure mandate holders. Additionally, more national human rights institutions were established to ensure accountability and prevent torture. Moreover, the third cycle has seen improvements in the professionalisation of police, correctional officers, judges, and lawyers. The universal periodic review has also led to revisions to penal codes, including the abolition of the death penalty.
The UPR process is based on information provided by the State under review, which may come in the form of a “national report.” The report may also be based on information provided by independent human rights experts, known as “troikas.” The state-under-review may accept or reject the recommendations made by the ‘troikas’. The final report is adopted at the plenary session of the Human Rights Council.
The Saudi Arabian government has given the Universal Periodic Review great importance and actively participated in three sessions of the review. It adopted most of the 31 recommendations, but it made reservations regarding the implementation of some of these. These reservations were periodically reviewed. This reflects the ongoing process of assessing a state’s human rights record.
During the review, Saudi Arabia was criticized for its failure to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. It also continued to practice the death penalty and male guardianship over women. Moreover, it had reservations on various human rights treaties. The review also raised concerns over Saudi Arabia’s treatment of migrant workers, gender equality, and freedom of expression.
The Saudi Arabian government also pledged to fully implement the Protection from Abuse Regulation, which outlines the redress mechanisms for victims of domestic violence. It defines abuse in law as physical, psychological, or sexual. However, it has not implemented the recommendation to impose a minimum age for marriage for both men and women. Moreover, it has not banned child marriage in the country.https://www.youtube.com/embed/1qOkLaUBGg4