Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21

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Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21
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  GE.13-16088 (E) 260813 030913   Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Seventeenth session Geneva, 21 October–1 November 2013 National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 *  Saudi Arabia * The present document has been reproduced as received. Its content does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations. United Nations A /HRC/WG.6/17/SAU/1 General Assembly Distr.: General 5 August 2013 English Original: Arabic  A/HRC/WG.6/17/SAU/1 2   GE.13-16088 Introduction 1. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is presenting its second report as part of the universal  periodic review in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/251, Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 16/21, and Human Rights Council decision 17/119. The report identifies the human rights progress accomplished in the Kingdom during the period 2009– 2013. I. Methodology followed for the preparation of the report This report was prepared in accordance with the steps described below. A. Information-gathering 2. The objective fact-finding approach was followed, i.e., information was checked and verified for accuracy, in the interest of portraying the Kingdom’s human rights situation in a transparent manner. 3. The requisite information was obtained from the relevant sources and is adapted for inclusion in the report in the light of the general guidelines for the universal periodic review. 4. In keeping with the general guidelines (relating to the process), much of the detail and information reflecting the human rights progress made has been omitted. Annexes have instead been used to clarify some of the elements excluded from the report due to considerations of length. B. Consultation 5. The information was examined and discussed directly in face-to-face meetings and seminars, and indirectly via other means of communication, with governmental bodies, national (civil society) institutions and associations, academics and active members of the human rights community. 6. The Human Rights Commission held 24 meetings in 9 urban centres with civil society representatives and persons interested in human rights, thus reinforcing the  principle of national consultation and participation. II. Normative and institutional framework for human rights 7. In explaining the normative and institutional framework for human rights, the initial report spelt out the general principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through binding provisions of law. The present report further clarifies some of those  principles in order to reflect the true human rights situation in the Kingdom. It also makes reference to new laws and institutions established as part of this framework.  A/HRC/WG.6/17/SAU/1 GE.13-16088 3 Laws (see annex 1) A. The Basic Law of Governance 8. The Kingdom is governed by sharia law, pursuant to which Muslim rulers are mandated to apply its established principles and rules to the promotion and protection of human rights, as prescribed in the Holy Koran, the Sunnah of the Prophet and Islamic  jurisprudence, which is renewed with every generation in pace with the latest developments in human evolution over time and place. Justice, equality and consultation are key among these principles. Article 55 of the Basic Law of Governance provides that: “The King shall oversee the application of sharia, laws and the general policy of the State.” Allegiance to the King is pledged on the basis of the Koran and the Sunnah, pursuant to article 6 of the Basic Law: “Citizens shall pledge allegiance to the King on the basis of the Book of God Almighty and the Sunnah of His Prophet.” Sharia law also establishes that society as a whole carries responsibility, ruling out any approximation of the State to a religious theocracy as opposed to a civil State. 9. The Kingdom is the cradle and centre of Islam, the land of the Two Holy Mosques and the direction of prayer for 1.5 billion Muslims. The Koran and the Sunnah, the authoritative sources for all Muslims, are its constitution and its governance is based on the application of sharia law. It does not have its own particular interpretation of Islam. Jurisprudence does not imply varying interpretations of Islam; strictly speaking, it is an intellectual exercise in which sharia scholars are bound by specific criteria and rules. Within a defined framework, Muslims follow the rulings most appropriate to them at all times and in any place, without prejudice to the principles (rules of conduct) that protect and promote human rights. In that these principles prohibit and criminalize the violation of human rights, interpretative judgements falling within their framework are simply a systematic endeavour to protect and promote these rights, as indicated in article 26 of the Basic Law of Governance, which provides that: “The State shall protect human rights in accordance with sharia law.” B. The Trafficking in Persons (Offences) Act 10. Derived from sharia principles, which forbid all forms of trafficking in persons, the Trafficking in Persons (Offences) Act, promulgated pursuant to Royal Decree No. M/40 of 14 July 2009, is consistent with the international and regional standards in place for combating such trafficking, which it defines as “the employment, recruitment, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation” (art. 1). The Act prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons described in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in addition to other forms not covered under the Protocol, i.e., for the purpose of medical experimentation or begging (art. 2). It also defines a child as “anyone under 18 years of age” (art. 1). The Act describes the various kinds of trafficking in persons offences, for which it also prescribes penalties of up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 1 million riyals. These penalties are increased in certain cases where the victim is one of a particularly vulnerable group. The Act further underlines the principle that no consideration can be given to a plea that the victim consented to any of the offences for which it provides in article 5. C. The Enforcement Act 11. This Act vests in the judiciary the authority to enforce judgements in cases involving financial and family matters. The enforcement judge has jurisdiction to impose and  A/HRC/WG.6/17/SAU/1 4   GE.13-16088 supervise mandatory enforcement measures and settle all enforcement disputes, irrespective of their value. He likewise has jurisdiction to make enforcement-related decisions and orders and may also call upon the competent entities for assistance. The Act further vests the enforcement judge with the authority to enforce judgements, decisions and notarized deeds made in a foreign country. D. The Arbitration Act 12. This Act is designed to speed up due process and facilitate litigation procedures. It makes provision for different kinds of dispute settlement bodies and opens the way for constructive contributions from legal and judicial experts working outside the judiciary. It has a major impact on money flow and business, sustains the economy and alleviates strain on the judicial authorities. E. The Mortgage Act 13. This Act is concerned with the registration of real property whereby the mortgagee (creditor) acquires a right in kind over specific real property, thereby taking precedence over all creditors in satisfaction of his claim. It also has the effect of boosting the economy, enhancing the factors of financial growth and opening up prospects for the achievement of  prosperity and decent livelihoods. F. The Regulation on domestic workers and persons of similar status 14. This Regulation governs the relationship between employers and domestic workers  by spelling out the rights and obligations of both parties in the relationship. Crucially, it states that employers must not assign domestic workers to perform work other than that agreed in the contract, nor work that is hazardous to health, demeaning or for a third party. It also obliges employers to pay workers the agreed wage at the end of every month, without delay, and to provide a written receipt of that payment. Employers are further required to provide suitable accommodation for domestic workers and to ensure that they enjoy a daily rest period of not less than nine hours and a mutually agreed weekly rest  period. Workers are entitled to paid leave in the event of sickness and to one month’s paid leave after completion of two years of service with the employer. The Regulation also contains provisions stating that domestic workers must respect the teachings of Islam, the rules and regulations in place in the Kingdom and the specificity and culture of Saudi society, and that they are under obligation to perform the work agreed in the contract of employment concluded with the employer. It likewise sets out the penalties applicable to the parties in the relationship should either of them contravene its provisions. G. International human rights conventions 15. On 28 June 2010, the Kingdom acceded to: •   The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and •   The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, both of which were adopted by General Assembly resolution 54/263 of 25 May 2000. 16. On 28 May 2013, it also acceded to:  A/HRC/WG.6/17/SAU/1 GE.13-16088 5 •   The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and work, adopted in 1973. Institutions A. The National Anti-Corruption Commission 17. Established pursuant to Royal Decree No. A/65 of 19 March 2011, this Commission reports directly to the King. It enjoys legal personality and has financial and administrative autonomy, guaranteeing that the conduct of its activities is fully impartial and uninfluenced  by any party. Its objective is to protect integrity, promote the principle of transparency and combat all forms, manifestations and modes of financial and administrative corruption. Its remit includes monitoring the activity of all government entities, without exception, and  private-sector companies in which the State has a stake of 25 per cent or more. B. The Standing Committee on Trafficking in Persons 18. The Committee was established at the seat of the Human Rights Commission,  pursuant to Cabinet Decision No. 244 of 13 July 2009, and comprises representatives of the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Social Affairs, Labour, and Culture and Information. It is a key national mechanism for implementing the Trafficking in Persons (Offences) Act and has numerous functions, including: •   Following up on victims to ensure that they come to no further harm; •   Developing a policy of actively seeking out victims and training law enforcement officers in victim identification techniques; •   Coordinating with the competent authorities in order to return victims to their homes in the country of which they are nationals or, where requested, to their place of residence in any other country; •   Recommending, if the situation so requires, that a victim should be permitted to remain in the Kingdom and have his status regularized so that he is able to work. III. Protection and promotion of human rights on the ground 1   A. International human rights instruments and treaties 2   19. The Kingdom considers, on an ongoing basis, all of the international human rights treaties to which it is not a party in the light of the provisions of sharia law, which affirm the principle of openness to the human rights experiences of others and commitment to the Islamic cultural identity and values. In studying those treaties, the main criterion is to establish that they would be effectively implemented in line with the sharia principle concerning the fulfilment of contracts: “Believers, fulfil your undertakings.” 3  The initial findings of the studies conducted were that all of the principles for the protection and  promotion of human rights are practised on the ground in the Kingdom by virtue of the 1    !"   #$%&'&(!"   )*+,-   .- !"#$   %$&'()*$   +,    -./00/1    -23401$   56789(1$   :7;$92   </=   >6?@    -7=&A   2   ) : !"#$%&'( 7 ! 6 ! 3 ! 2 ! . 1 (   3   !"#$%&   '()* 1  
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