12/05/2013, 00.00
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The Saudi monarch opens to women at the wheel

King Abdullah orders authorities to examine the 72 reforms proposed by the Commission for Human Rights ( HRC ) . Among these, the opportunities for women to drive to and from work : greater protection from family violence . Under examination the right to citizenship for children born in mixed marriages , in which the mother is Saudi Arabian.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Saudi King is considering new reforms in favor of human rights in the country, such as the possibility for women to use the car to reach their place of work and giving citizenship to children born from marriages between Saudi citizens and foreigners. King Abdullah ordered the Saudi authorities to investigate 72 proposals submitted by the Human Rights Commission ( HRC ) on various social issues. The decision comes after more than 400 complaints of serious violations of human rights, especially for women, submitted in the last five years to the commission.

Ibrahim al- Sheddi , HRC spokesman , said that " the proposals relate primarily to the problem of male relatives who commit violence by exploiting their authority over women ." In its report to King Abdullah, the HRC pointed out that many women suffer insults and abuse by their husbands , fathers and brothers who also often attempt to seize their assets . The spokesman stressed that women's right to movement and transport to meet their daily requirements and to reach places of work will also be taken into consideration. Al- Sheddi adds that a law will also be implemented to prevent violence against children.

Saudi journalist Maha Akeel sees this "as a good move by the committee , as it acknowledges the difficulties, obstacles and daily discrimination that women face in their daily lives , the result of a system that protects only men " . Akee praises the courage of the HRC , which is facing these problems despite fierce campaigns and criticism from the more conservative parts of society. For men one of the most urgent problems is the one on the right of citizenship to children born in mixed marriages where the mother is Saudi Arabian.

In Saudi Arabia, women can not leave home alone to go abroad and they need their husband's permission and a family escort. The license for driving would be a defeat for the male world that could lead to the "moral decay" of society. For this reason, if a woman is caught in the act while driving, she is sentenced to 10 lashes .


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