​Saudi Arabia's Speech

Human Rights Commission

61st session, Geneva

2-5 / 1426H, corresponding to 3-15-2005

H.E. Dr. Nizar Bin Obaid Madani, Minister of State in the ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered the Speech.

Mr. President,

The High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy at the beginning of my statement before this respectable session of this Honorable Committee to express to you and your friendly country, Indonesia, my sincere congratulations on your election as President of this session, there is no doubt that your election reflects the respect and appreciation you and your friendly country enjoy.

We are confident that your wisdom, experience and your wide knowledge will no doubt contribute to the success of this session.

I would like to thank your predecessor, Ambassador Mike Smith for the active role and effort he endured during his presidency of the previous session.

I am also glad to welcome Her Excellency the Human Rights High Commissioner and wish her success in the immense tasks to promote and protect human rights.

Mr. President,

Distinguished audience,

Respect for human rights is a key pillar of the policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Basic Law of governance has confirmed this.

My Government believes that the responsibility to preserve the human rights primarily rests in the first place with Governments supported by civil society organizations and international institutions including the Human Rights Commission.

In this context, the National Human Rights Commission which was established in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to play its role independently and with transparency to assist in the protection of human rights concepts and development of these concepts.

This Commission has expanded its activities since its inception, especially in the control and monitoring of the situation in prisons and reformatories to ensure respect of prisoners', the accused and awaiting trials' rights, and also ensure that there are no abuses against them.

Mr. President,

Saudi Arabia has gone a long way in taking actions that would promote and protect human rights, believing in the importance of the development of the individual and the community in accordance with their privacy and requirements and not according to theories and ideas imposed from abroad.

To this end, the Kingdom issued the basic law of rule (Law of Governance) and started a national dialogue among all segments of the Saudi society, and the number of Shura Council members has been increased, and its authority and powers have been expanded to include the review and development of laws and regulations.

Saudi Arabia also started municipal elections, which were established on the fact that the Saudi citizen is eligible to participate in all decisions of interest to his life.

I would like in this regard to point to the statements issued by some officials in Saudi Arabia that confirmed exclusion of women from participation in the near future elections.

With regard to Saudi women, and their position in the reform process, it must be pointed out that the Kingdom's educational reforms have produced a new generation of women with high degree of training, education and knowledge who are now assuming their rightful place in Saudi society.

Women can now join in different public and private sectors to work in government institutions, including but not limited to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in addition to their career opportunities.

The Judicial system has also received attention from the State through the issuance of several regulations and laws that will regulate and promote the practice of criminal proceedings, procedures and the legal profession.

The regulatory reforms included more than 25 new legislations in the areas of foreign investments, insurance, financial markets, taxation and the fight against money laundering and financial irregularities in addition to new procedures and measures to combat corruption.

With regard to prisons, reports have indicated that the administration of prisons in Saudi Arabia has committed itself to international standards, as was pointed out by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr. Kumar Swami during his visit to the Kingdom and his visits to the jails.

The Saudi society - Mr. President - is a naturally conservative society that needs to be convinced of the feasibility of development and reforms and that these do not affect his religious beliefs.

The municipal elections have shown that a large segment of the community was willing to interact with the gradual and planned modernization.

Mr. President,

The international community is facing serious challenges at all levels, these challenges are closely linked to the relationship of the individual with the society and the relationship of the governed with the Governor. These challenges are not limited to domestic policy frameworks but go beyond to include the entire international community.

Perhaps the most important challenges facing all of us at this time, is the scourge of terrorism, which is no longer a local matter to be fought by the State and its laws, but it goes beyond this framework to become one of the objectives of the new international order.

My country was and is still the target of terrorism, which claimed the lives of innocent people. Therefore, the Kingdom stressed, on many occasions, her strong condemnation and denunciation of terrorism in all its forms on the basis of her Constitution which relies on the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Prophet (peace be upon him).

The Kingdom also confirmed her intention to make every possible effort in order to combat this scourge and all those who finance it or instigate it until it is eradicated from its roots. The Kingdom also hopes that all countries shall play a role in this regard, particularly in the area of denying terrorists safe havens or that they are allowed to exploit asylum laws and then they they the asylum to abuse the concepts of human rights through promoting the ideology of hate, extremism and incitement to terrorism.

The kingdom has called for an international conference against terrorism held in Riyadh between the 5th to 8th February 2005, under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the Crown Prince and Commander of the National Guard.

The conference, in which more than sixty countries, international and regional organizations took part, had issued the "Riyadh Declaration" which emphasized the commitment to international resolutions issued by the United Nations relevant to combating terrorism, and based on the fact that this organization, is the primary forum for promoting international cooperation against terrorism.

The "Riyadh Declaration", has also stressed that any international effort will be inadequate if an effective response to the phenomenon of terrorism missed the teamwork and the overall strategic perspective in dealing with it.

In this context, the Conference adopted the proposal of His Royal Highness the Saudi Crown Prince to establish an international center to combat terrorism.

The Conference also stressed that terrorism has no particular religion, race, nationality or geographic region, and therefore the following should be emphasized:

First: Any attempt to link terrorism with Islam will, in fact, assist terrorists and support extremists. Islam, as Saudi Arabia stated in more than one forum before, is blameless of what terrorists do.

Second: The war on terrorism must not be used as a pretext for the violation of human rights, whether individuals rights or groups rights or even the rights of nations and countries.

Third: confronting terrorism and extremism requires us all, more than any time before, to be keen in joining national, regional and international efforts to disseminate the culture of tolerance and the values of openness, dialogue and understanding between cultures and civilizations and respect religious values with all its the diversity and richness for the whole of mankind, and whatever contributes to the enhancement and protection of human rights.

The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, held in Madrid last week stressed that terrorism is a global phenomenon, and therefore there is no way to eliminate it except through collective international action.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The programs of development, modernization and development can not take place and be effective unless the circumstances and the proper environment have been provided, in the forefront of which are, security, stability and peace.

The Middle East is suffering from instability and loss of security and peace more than any other region in the world, because of the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories.

Since the gross violations of Arab and Palestinians human rights are fixed items in the work of this honorable Commission, then this issue calls for the need of Israel to take action to implement the decisions made by this Commission to bring security and stability to the region.

We hope, on the other hand, the recent moves to revive the peace process in the Middle East, will lead to the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative put forward by Saudi Arabia and adopted by the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002, and to activate the road map, and to stop building the separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian territory, which Israel still continues to build in disregard of the decision of the International Court of Justice which recognized the illegality of the separation wall.

On the other hand, Iraq is in dire need of international support and cooperation to be able to establish security and stability and strengthening its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in this regard, Saudi Arabia has welcomed the successful Iraqi elections as a first step to - building a stable and unified Iraq at peace with itself and with its neighbors.

Saudi Arabia in turn was one of the largest contributors in the support of reconstruction of Iraq at the Madrid conference of donor countries.

Mr. President,

There too many topics and complex issues raised on the agenda of this Committee and which require concentrated efforts and sincerity of intentions and seriousness in implementation and perhaps the most important of these issues is the issue of poverty under which loll the rights to life, food, medicine, education and a safe environment that calls for tolerance and renouncing terrorism.

This is because hunger, poverty and marginalization play an important role in feeding the extremist ideology and terrorism.

There are other vital and important issues such as globalization and their impact on the full enjoyment of human rights in addition to the question of the right to development.

Among the things that limit the efforts of the developing countries in reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, is the reluctance of the Developed Countries in the implementation of the commitments they have made years ago to allocate 0.7% of their national income to development aid.

It should be noted here that Saudi Arabia had contributed to the financing of economic and social development efforts in many developing countries, despite being a developing country its self with increasing financial needs, in addition to the fact that she exempted a large number of poor countries from their debts these debts amounted to about 6 Billion Dollars.

The kingdom in this regard, calls upon the donor countries to assist in alleviating the burden of external debts of poor developing countries, which will enhance the efforts of the Governments of those countries for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your honorable Commission will continue to be the highest platform for honoring the Human being and to ensure his rights. The human rights will be the times gate and the way of various peoples into the future.

Human rights now has broad concepts and comprehensive content that does not stop at resistance to torture, racism and freedoms which are guaranteed in international agreements, but goes beyond this to political, economic and social dimensions in the forefront of which is the availability of minimum standard of living, which preserves human dignity and guarantees his rights.

In this context, since its inception, your honorable Commission, has played an active role over the years, during which international human rights instruments were formulated, and mechanisms for the implementation of their contents were established, and committees of experts were formed to follow up all that and develop what needs development.

The establishment of the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights has been a positive supporter of the work of this Commission.

What I would like to emphasize here is that Member States in the international community, must encourage and develop the growing role of this Committee and support it by all means, without the need to establish new positions or create mechanisms related to human rights outside the scope of this Commission.

To achieve the objective for which it was established, and commitment to the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law and relevant international conventions and to avoid politicizing the work of this Commission, and to address issues on an equal footing, without selectivity or ambivalence.

In this regard, it seems appropriate to quote some of what was stated by His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations at the opening of the last session of the General Assembly, where he said (all States need a framework of fair rules and the framework exists, the States have developed an impressive body of norms and laws from trade to terrorism and from Marine law to weapons of mass destruction, this in itself is an achievement that makes us proud. But this framework suffers from gaps and weaknesses, it is often implemented in a selective way and is applied arbitrarily and it lacks enforcement power, which transforms laws to an effective legal system, and when enforcement capability is lacked, many feel that the framework was not always used effectively, and justly.

When a rule is seriously and earnestly invoked as in the case of the Commission on Human Rights, those invoking it do not usually apply what they preach, and those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it ...) end of quote.

Mr. President,

Distinguished Delegates,

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as one of the members of your honorable Commission will spare no effort to cooperate with you and the Office of the High Commissioner in all that is likely to promote and protect human rights, and we are confident that this meeting will provide a valuable opportunity to deliberate on issues affecting our present and our future, which requires of us more than ever before, solidarity and collaboration to achieve the lofty goals that your honorable Commission looks forward to achieve. I hopes that the efforts of this Commission, be crowned with success and gook luck.

Thank you, Mr. President