Monday, April 21, 2008
Human Rights Watch: Saudi Women Treated Like Children
This is a major admission for a liberal "Human Rights" organization. I would go a step further and say that Saudi Arabian women are treated as SLAVES.
The fact that they don't have the right to make basic choices about education, whom to marry, when to leave the house, or what to wear, makes it clear; they are adults who are deprived of the freedom of choice.
That equals slavery in my book.
But, HRW is making progress, even if the Saudis are not (from the Guardian, via Jammie Wearing Fool):
Saudi Arabia's rigid sex segregation, compulsory male guardianship of women and other "grossly discriminatory" policies are a denial of fundamental rights, a leading human rights watchdog says today.
Women are treated like legal minors who have no authority over their lives or their children, finds a new report by Human Rights Watch.
The depth and detail of discrimination was laid bare in more than 100 interviews conducted during HRW's first fact-finding visit to the oil-rich, conservative kingdom, where King Abdullah is often described as a cautious reformist.
"The Saudi government sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women," concluded Farida Deif, HRW researcher for the Middle East. "Saudi women won't make any progress until the government ends the abuses that stem from these misguided policies."
Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian, normally a father or a husband, who is tasked with making a range of critical decisions. And even when permission from a guardian is not mandatory some officials still ask for it "because current practice assumes women have no power to make their own decisions" over medical procedures or discharge from hospital.
Women are "marginalised almost to the point of total exclusion" from the country's workforce, the report says. And since Saudi women are banned from driving, a large proportion of their salaries goes on paying for transportation.
The burqa is the chains of modern slavery.
Each generation we choose not to do anything about this slavery, hundreds of millions of women pass their lives in enforced obscurity, their lives deleted by their male masters in the name of Allah.
Future generations will look back on our time and wonder, just as we do today about the leadup to the Holocaust, how is it we could have done nothing?