Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Domestic Violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Domestic Violence. Show all posts

April 13, 2016

SaudisTell UN Human Council Their Support for LGBT Executions


The ‘crucifixion’ of 5 beheaded bodies in Saudi Arabia.

At the most recent session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia objected to a resolution that condemns the use of torture by law enforcement and reaffirms the human rights of LGBT people.

The resolution, passed during the council’s 31st session, which closed on March 24, condemns the use of torture “and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and urges nations to prevent torture by police or during pre-trial detention.

The 'crucifixion' of 5 beheaded bodies in Saudi Arabia.While the report is primarily focused on police and governmental use of torture, it briefly references the latest report by Juan Mendez, the special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which was issued during the session.

According to a U.N. press release, Saudi Arabia protested because Mendez’s report “included 65 references to sexual orientation and was an attempt to use the eradication of torture to promote other issues, which lacked any ground in international law.”

In essence, the Gulf kingdom, claiming to be speaking “on behalf of a number of countries,” was concerned that objecting to police torture might also require its own government to advocate for the human rights of LGBT people.

In Saudi Arabia, homosexual behavior is punishable by the death penalty. Three gay men were executed by beheading there in 2002. In July 2014, Saudi Arabia sentenced another gay man to three years imprisonment and 450 lashes for meeting men on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Human Rights Council has provoked controversy in the past, especially in September, when the nation was asked to lead the “Consultative Group,” which helps the council appoint human rights experts who serve in a variety of peacekeeping roles around the world. Cables released by WikiLeaks last year revealed that the Saudis made a secret deal with the United Kingdom to ensure their places in the council.

The HRC has affirmed that human rights are universal, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, most recently in a 2014 resolution — a resolution which Saudi Arabia voted against.

Saudi Arabia continues to crack down on LGBT use of social media. According to a March 31 report by Vocativ, the kingdom is considering executing people for “coming out” online.

“The extreme proposal comes amid a reported surge in the number of homosexuality-related crimes being prosecuted in the city of Jeddah, which officials attribute to a growing use of social media among members of the kingdom’s LGBT community,” wrote Shane Dixon Kavanaugh.

Saudi Arabia’s objection to any recognition of LGBT human rights may ultimately be a distraction from the kingdom’s overall fondness for torture in all its forms. Amnesty International’s website declares that “Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world.” In addition to routine use of torture, the NGO also cites “public execution, discrimination, intolerance for free speech, possible war crimes in Yemen,” among many other offenses.

Despite these well-documented violations, Saudi Arabia remains a close ally of the United States. The U.S. continues to arm the Saudi military despite repeated war crimes in Yemen. Few mainstream media sites seemed to take note of the recent crackdown on LGBT social media use, even as similar behavior by terrorist groups like Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the extremist group commonly known in the West as ISIS or ISIL) is widely condemned in the media.

Speaking to Catherine Shakdam in January, investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley said the special treatment afforded to Saudi Arabia “exemplified America’s exceptionalism.”

Shakdam concurred, adding:

“Saudi Arabia’s ‘special friendship’ with the U.S. … has allowed for U.S. officials to pick and choose when to show outrage and when to denounce human rights violations, manipulating international law to the tune of their own political agendas, rather than objectively defending the rule of law.”    GENEVA 

January 11, 2016

Even Straight Dating in Saudi Arabia is a Dicey Thing


One winter day a few years ago, I met a girl I really liked. I saw her at a park in Qatif. We were looking at each other, so I went up to her and said, ‘‘Hi, you look beautiful.’’ She thanked me, and I handed her a piece of paper with my number on it. ‘‘We should talk more,’’ I told her. ‘‘I’m interested in you.’’ Then I left immediately.

We started talking on the phone for hours every day. Her name was Samar. She was 18, pretty and slender, with long black hair and light brown skin. About a week later, when my parents went to Turkey for the weekend, we had a safe place to meet. She told her parents that she was going shopping. I picked her up at a mall and drove her to my house.

Dating is complicated in Saudi Arabia. You have to be careful just talking to a woman, because if someone finds out, it can be a really big problem. So it’s better not to tell anybody. If you want to go to a cafe with her, you totally can’t. The police might stop you and ask, ‘‘Who’s that?’’ If you say she is your sister, they ask for proof. If they find out she isn’t your sister, they will take you to the police station. If you are found guilty of khilwa — when a man and woman who are not family members are together alone — you can go to jail for a few months. You can also be lashed 100 times. Sometimes you’re told that you have to marry the woman. That way you might not have to go to jail.

When we arrived at my house, I gave her flowers. As a young Saudi guy, I was not used to being alone with a girl. (Before Samar, it had happened only a few times.) I didn’t know what to talk about or how to act, so I started showing her my PC and my Xbox, that kind of stuff. She wasn’t a serious gamer, but she played video games. I liked that she could speak English, and we liked the same music.

The girls I’d met before had been scared of sex. This time was different. I felt she wanted to do something because she kissed me first. We were sitting on the couch in my living room, staring at each other. She got closer to me, and that was it. After kissing for a while, I said: ‘‘I’m not comfortable here on the couch. Why don’t we go to my room?’’
Thankfully, it worked out O.K. It was the first time for me, but I knew what to do. How? Every single young Saudi guy watches porn. I’m not joking. I mean all of them. Afterward, I told her that it was my first time. She said she didn’t believe me. I didn’t want to say I learned everything from porn, but she probably guessed.

This kind of thing goes on a lot in private in my country. There are young people who have sex before marriage, drink or use drugs and don’t care about religion. I grew up with religion all around me, and I’m still Muslim, but I don’t believe that Islam is like this. Sure, we broke the law, but I didn’t feel guilty. I was actually happy, as if I could do this every day. I was like: ‘‘Screw the police. I don’t give a damn.’’ She felt the same way. She hated the police, too.

It really sucks to live in a place where it’s against the law to fall in love. We agreed that the society we lived in was wrong about this. It’s just wrong, it’s super wrong. That’s why we did whatever we liked. Many young men and women in Saudi Arabia have to live a double life.
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We lay in bed for a while, and then we got really hungry. It was evening. We went to the kitchen, and she cooked steak for me. Then her father called, asking her where she was, because it was getting late. She said she was still at the mall and would come right home. She was really scared that her family had found out she was with me. I dropped her off near her home and told her to call me later to tell me what happened with her parents. But she didn’t call. I was really worried. I thought she was caught. I was like: ‘‘I’m busted, I’m so busted.’’ The next morning, she finally sent me a message saying everything was O.K. and they didn’t know.
We met a lot after that, when my parents went away on weekends, and talked a lot on the phone. She was my first real girlfriend and my first love. She said I was hers. We had that kind of conversation. She said she really loved me. We talked about marriage a few times.

About a year later, I did something really stupid. I met another girl. I just saw her once, but Samar found out when she looked at my phone. ‘‘I was wrong,’’ I told her. ‘‘It was a mistake. I’m not going to do it again.’’ But she broke up with me.

Since then, I’ve met other girls. But when I went out with them, I didn’t feel the same way. I felt good, O.K., but not as good as with Samar. I thought she was the perfect one for me. But it was too late, and she was gone.

As told to Daniel Krieger. 

Hassan, 23, lives in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, and works in the tech industry. He asked for his surname to be withheld because of the risk associated with telling his story. Being alone with an unrelated woman and having premarital sex are banned in Saudi Arabia. 


September 3, 2013

Human Rights Groups Feeling Better About Saudi’s Changes on "Domestic Violence"

 Human rights campaigners have welcomed a landmark decision in Saudi Arabia designed to combat domestic violence.
However, they urge caution. The country's legal system is based on sharia law and rarely sees new laws being introduced. Critics allege that Saudi Arabia is known for suppressing women's rights, and it remains to be seen how this law will be put into practice, according to experts.
For the first time in Saudi Arabia's history the kingdom's cabinet has approved a ban on domestic violence and other forms of abuse both at home and in the workplace. The law, which was passed last Monday, is meant to protect every citizen, but in particular the most vulnerable including children, women and domestic workers. The law is expected to be implemented within 90 days.
Adam Coogle, a Saudi Arabia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: "We welcome the law because it makes crimes such as physical and emotional abuse easier to prosecute and it is a step in the right direction -- but the law has some major drawbacks. I'd urge caution until we see how exactly this law will be implemented and whether domestic abuse cases will now actually be punished in courts."
The law states that physical or sexual violence is punishable with a minimum jail sentence of one month and a maximum of one year, and fines of up to $13,300. Judges can double the sentence for repeat offenders. Abuse victims will be given access to necessary health care, psychological treatment and family counseling.
According to Coogle, male guardianship in Saudi Arabia is a major obstacle to the new law. "How can a woman escape an abusive husband if she's not allowed to drive and can't even travel without the permission of her male guardian?" Coogle said. He is also concerned that the law does not mention the issue of marital rape.
Eman Al Nafjan, a Saudi writer and blogger who tweets as Saudiwoman, told CNN: "Having this in a country where we still have male guardianship system, where we still have child marriage -- it's a contradiction -- these things are still legal and yet you're talking about protection from harassment. It doesn't seem like a system where a lot of action will be taken. This seems to be more about talking than actually implementing."
(Saudi woman files suit over right to drive)

Domestic violence is a problem in Saudi Arabia but no reliable figures exist on how many people get abused each year. According to researchers there have been very few instances in the past where rapes and physical violence cases went to court as women do not dare to come forward.
Until last week, no written penal code existed on domestic violence and physical abuse. That means that it was up to individual judges to determine what actions are illegal and how to punish them, if at all.
The new law makes it easier to punish such crimes as they now can rely on written regulations. "Judges own the courtroom," Coogle said. ""A man's testimony still carries more weight than that of a woman so we'll have to see whether this law will change the status quo.”

(Billionaire Saudi prince tweets support for women driving)
Bandar al-Aiban, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission which is backed by the Saudi government, told CNN: "This is a very important law. We've been working on it for a long time. I'm very pleased to see it enacted. King Abdullah himself is behind this law," he said.
"This shows the kingdom is really moving forward with enacting laws that protect its citizens and residents and to make sure the kingdom is now in accordance with international obligations and international standards regarding human rights."
Earlier this year, a campaign was launched calling for an end to violence against women. In the King Khalid Foundation advert a woman wears a hijab with only her eyes visible - one clearly bruised and blackened. A slogan written in Arabic underneath reads: "Some things can't be covered."
Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.
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