Results for Tag: HumanRights
As part of the scheme, visitors can apply for a one-year, multiple-entry visa, allowing them to spend up to 90 days in Saudi Arabia, which previously only recognized business and invitation visas. On the new Visit Saudi, website, available in English, Arabic and Chinese, a slick video promotes the country’s natural and cultural attractions, featuring foreign-looking people, including women not wearing the abaya, the full-body robe required for local women.
As well as the freedom to travel, the royal decrees also introduced new rights in Saudi Arabia to register marriages, divorces and births and make family documents. There was also reportedly a new concession to allow students to study abroad without a mahram (a legal escort). These reforms are substantial in providing women with the liberty to get an identity card more easily or to be able to access further educational opportunities.
Organizers of the Byblos International Festival yielded to pressure from church officials, politicians and online groups who accused the locally grown and internationally acclaimed band Mashrou’ Leila of dishonouring Christian symbols and promoting homosexuality. Following several threats of violence, the organizers announced on 30 July that the show scheduled for 9 August would be cancelled to ‘prevent bloodshed and maintain security and stability’.
Initiatives to enhance this progress include Harassmap, which aims to empower people to stand up against harassment, and HerStory. The latter is supported by UN Women and aims “to produce and disseminate knowledge about gender equality issues and women and girls’ lives and contributions in the Arab region.” One of the ways HerStory wants to achieve this is by creating Wikipedia pages on women in the Arab world.
The campaign against Mashrou’ Leila, has expectedly received much attention due to the band’s popularity in Lebanon, the region, and the world. It has also served the purpose of covering what little solidarity there was among the Lebanese population with the rightful protests by Palestinians in the country or diverting attention from the mistreatment and forceful return of Syrian refugees.
The international community has been urged to put pressure on Bahrain to respect freedom of expression. However, many believe that the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) have not done enough to criticize the Bahraini government, which remains a key ally, and continue to approve arms sales to the country. At the same time, the Bahraini embassy in Washington noted the America’s use of capital punishment, and analysts saw the resumption of federal executions by the US as a de facto green light for Bahrain.
The crisis hitting UNRWA is therefore not just a crisis of funding or misconduct, but is connected to attitudes towards its existence due to its symbolic affiliation with the right of return. Global support for the organisation still remains high but the risk of Israeli and US pressure securing the severance of its mandate looms nearby, and this could have serious effects on those who use its services.