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Statement on and Advance Questions to Saudi Arabia

Last updated: 22.10.2013 // UPR of Saudi Arabia 21st October 2013. Statement and advance questions submitted by Norway


Norway welcomes the delegation of Saudi Arabia. We appreciate the opportunity to have this dialogue on human rights issues with the Kingdom.

The encouraging developments with regard to a larger participation of women in Saudi society have built further momentum. We welcome measures taken to facilitate access to work for women in certain sectors and note progress with regard to women’s access to education.  Many hurdles remain, however, and these are primarily tied to the strict system of male guardianship. Norway recommends that Saudi Authorities give full legal identity to all women residing in the Kingdom.

Norway is concerned with the high number of people executed in Saudi Arabia so far in 2013, including minors according to reports. We recommend the Government to end the practice of executing children and to bring the law and judicial practices into line with fair trial guarantees in international standards. 

Norway strongly believes that human rights defenders play an important role in fostering a culture of human rights. We have witnessed a number of arrests, trials, and closure of organizations lately, which raise questions about the situation for human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. We recommend that all obstacles to freedom of expression and movement against human rights defenders are removed, including all travel bans. Norway further recommends that Saudi Authorities adopt appropriate measures to disseminate widely and ensure full observance of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Advance questions:

  • How do you see prospects for greater autonomy for women with regard to their personal status, including ultimately the granting of full legal identity, in light of the strict system of male guardianship?
  • In light of the positive passing of a domestic violence law in August, what are your priorities ahead, and how do you plan to implement necessary enforcement mechanisms?
  • How do you see the role of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, especially in light of a number of high-profile arrests, trials, and closure of organizations lately?
  • How can human rights defenders be supported by Saudi Authorities in accordance with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders?

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