‘Sharia über alles’ says Saudi Human rights commissioner
Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, above, chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, has told a UN watchdog that Islamic law trump all other laws and treaties.
According to this report, Al-Aiban was responding to a call by the Committee on the Rights of the Child for Saudi Arabia to end “severe” discrimination against girls and to repeal laws that allow the stoning, amputation, flogging and execution of children.
The committee also condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes in Yemen, which it said had killed and maimed hundreds of children, and its “use of starvation” as a tactic in that war against Iran-backed Houthis.
The committee’s 18 independent experts examined the kingdom’s record of compliance with a UN treaty protecting the rights of people under the age of 18.
Al-Aiban, who led a Saudi delegation to the committee’s review, told the body that sharia, Islamic law, was above all laws and treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But the kingdom had the political will to protect children’s rights, he said.
However, the UN experts voiced deep concern that Riyadh:
Still does not recognise girls as full subjects of rights and continues to severely discriminate [against] them in law and practice and to impose on them a system of male guardianship.
Traditional, religious or cultural attitudes should not be used to justify violations of their right to equality, they said.
Children of Shi’ite Muslim families and other religious minorities are persistently discriminated against in their access to schools and justice in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, they said.
Children over 15 years are tried as adults and can be executed. A mass execution of 47 people took place on January 2 this year in which at least four of the victims were under 18 when they were sentenced.
The UN experts urged Saudi authorities to:
Repeal all provisions contained in legislation which authorise the stoning, amputation and flogging of children.
Saudi Arabia should also:
Unambiguously prohibit the use of solitary confinement, life sentences on children and child attendance of public execution.
All forms of sexual abuse against children should be a crime and perpetrators prosecuted, the experts said.
They cited the case of Muslim preacher and TV presenter Fayhan al-Ghamdi, saying his charges were reduced and he was released from jail after he had raped and tortured his five-year-old daughter, Lama, in 2012 because he doubted her virginity. Lama died having spent ten months in hospital after doctors were unable to treat her injuries. After a public outcry al-Ghamdi was later jailed for eight years and sentenced to 600 lashes.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn