Taoiseach: 'I raised issue of human, not women's rights, with Saudi Arabia'

Whitewash warning Saudi-led ‘Muslim NATO’ teams up with major PR firm

Whitewash warning Saudi-led ‘Muslim NATO’ teams up with major PR firm

He said the kingdom's anti-terror law criminalised peaceful expression and prosecuted human rights defenders and anyone deemed to be endangering "national unity" or undermining "the reputation or position of the state".

But she also struck a cautious note: "Let's hope it works, and it's not just on paper".

The current procedures to get various government services include providing written approval by the women's guardians to process their applications.

The new order is not clear yet and does not state under what circumstances a woman should or should not obtain the consent of her guardian for services provided to her, said Saudi writer and women rights advocate Abdullah Al-Alami.

She added that she believes the services would include women's ability to independently represent themselves in court as well as to issue and renew passports and to travel overseas without needing a guardian's permit.

Or that women will now have the possibility of representing themselves in court, or gaining public sector employment without having to request the approval of a family member.

She added: "Male guardianship is un-Islamic and humiliating for women ..."

According to the Human Rights Watch report, a husband retains guardianship control even during divorce proceedings.

Over the past few years, Saudi women have been active in the country as they seek to participate and move into respected positions.

"It [Saudi Arabia] issues these royal decrees without enforcement mechanisms and no real repercussions of noncompliance", she said.

At a press conference in Montreal on Thursday, the Fine Gael leader appeared to suggest that he personally raised the issue of women's rights when he visited Saudi Arabia on a trade mission in 2014.

We see how the government opens schools and universities with free education for girls, provides them with jobs and allocates 20 percent of Shoura council seats for them, which is one of the highest quotas for women in the world's legislative councils.

Women can now vote in municipal elections, work in some retail and hospitality jobs and were allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time in 2012.

Moreover, the government can not encourage women to pursue their and get employed while at the same time allow such restrictions to be put on them.

Nimr, who became the figurehead of a 2011 protest movement calling for rights for Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite minority in the impoverished Qatif region, was killed with 47 other men, Saudi Arabia's largest mass execution in decades.

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