Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Nizar Obaid Madani, addressing in Geneva yesterday the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, affirmed that respect for human rights constitutes a fundamental component of Saudi Arabia’s policies. The Kingdom's National Human Rights Association (NHRA), he said, protects and develops the concepts of human rights independently and transparently, monitoring such aspects of society as conditions in prisons.
Minister Madani went on to list other initiatives, such as the ongoing series of national dialogue forums and the broadening of membership in the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura). Municipal elections have been instigated, and official statements from the Saudi Government have confirmed that there is nothing to prevent women from participating in future elections. There have also been reforms in education, to produce a new generation of highly educated, trained and knowledgeable citizens, women as well as men.
Turning to “the greatest challenge at the present time”, Minister Madani commented that Saudi Arabia, as a target of terrorists, has been denouncing, condemning and deploring terrorism in all its forms. Nations everywhere, he said, must work together to deprive terrorists of safe refuge, and to clarify that associating terrorism with any religion only strengthens the position of extremists.
Declaring that security, stability, and peace are essential for development, Minister Madani commented that the Middle East in particular is suffering from their lack because of Israel’s occupation of Arab territories. Saudi Arabia is hopeful that recent efforts to revive the peace process will lead to reactivation of the ‘roadmap’ and implementation of the Arab peace initiative that was proposed by the Kingdom.