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Feminist News


January-22-08

UN Panel Questions Saudi Restrictions on Women

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women questioned Saudi Arabian officials at a meeting in Geneva regarding the governments infringement the rights of women in the kingdom.

Among the practices Saudi officials were asked to explain is the system of "male guardianship" which requires that women seek male permission to travel, work, or even seek medical care, reported Reuters. Committee member Heisoo Shin said the restrictions on Saudi women "governed virtually every aspect of a womans life."

The 23-member panel was established by the UN to monitor the progress of countries that have signed the Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW). Saudi Arabia ratified CEDAW in 2000 with the stipulation that Sharia Law would overrule if any contradictions arose regarding the treatys provisions.

The United States remains one of only eight nations that have failed to ratify CEDAW, alongside Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga www.womenstreaty.org.

Media Resources: Reuters 01/18/08; Saudi Gazette 01/22/08;