No breach of human rights in Saudi law, experts say

The Kingdom does not breach any human rights in its laws and regulations, experts say

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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Human Rights declaration, which the Kingdom ratified last Tuesday, conforms to international human rights norms and it seeks to protect financial and emotional rights for all, the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said.

Speaking to al-Hayat newspaper, NSHR spokesman Ibrahim al-Shaddy said all agreements the Kingdom signed conform to Islamic law.

The Kingdom does not breach any human rights in its laws and regulations, contrary to what some extremists in the country believe, said legal consultant and Shoura Council member Fahd Al-Enizi.

“Every member country of the Gulf Cooperation Council believes in equality for all. This equality includes the freedom of expression and the freedom of belief. There are rules and regulations when it comes to freedom of expression in the Kingdom but these regulations do not breach human rights. Freedom of expression is granted in the Kingdom as long as it does not harm any member of society or the country,” al-Shaddy said.

“Absolute freedom is absolute chaos. Freedom of expression is open under the condition of not harming national unity or any individual. Moreover, the regulations are there to protect human rights and prevent anyone from being slandered or verbally abused,” added al-Enizi.

Al-Enizi said the implementation and legislation of the signed declaration on freedom of expression is undergoing gradual developments.

“There are necessary restrictions against any extreme or violation forms of expression,” explained al-Enizi.

On freedom of belief, al-Shaddy said that the Kingdom does grant freedom of belief as long as it is not publicly demonstrated.

“Visitors to the Kingdom are allowed to practice their faith and rituals in their own homes and not in public. This still conforms to the human rights declaration and does not breach any international law,” said al-Shaddy.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 15, 2014.