Saudi signs MoU to combat domestic violence

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Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the Mawaddah Charitable Association yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to increase coordination in protecting human rights and increase awareness to reduce domestic violence. The move comes as the kingdom’s commitment to human rights came under serious question following threats issued at UN investigator Agnès Callamard by one of Riyadh’s senior officials.

The MoU was signed by HRC Chairman Awwad Al-Awwad and Princess Lulwa Bint Nawwaf Bin Muhammad, chairperson of the association’s board of directors, reported Arab News. Both are said to have agreed to establish an independent body to deal with the issue of domestic violence and to work on developing specialised centres to rehabilitate victims of abuse.

The proposed body will be tasked with studying the phenomenon and come up with proposals for the development of a legal framework to counter domestic abuse and protect and rehabilitate the victims. It will also conduct research to review the prevailing situation in this regard and study the existing laws.

READ: 3.7m domestic workers in Saudi Arabia

Is it the end of guardianship in Saudi Arabia? - Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is it the end of guardianship in Saudi Arabia? – Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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Since its establishment, HRC has been actively working to ensure protection of rights at all levels. However, this goal suffered a huge setback last week when the kingdom’s very own human rights chief Awwad Al-Awwad was named as the official that issued death threats against UN investigator Callamard over her investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Callamard issued a report in 2019 about Khashoggi’s murder where she concluded that there was “credible evidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and senior officials within the kingdom were responsible for killing the journalist, who lived in exile in America.

US intelligence had also reached a similar conclusion, but details of the report were suppressed by the Trump administration. President Joe Biden, however, authorised the release of the report last month. It concluded that the Saudi crown prince had approved the brutal murder of Khashoggi.

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