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UN Rights Panel Urges End to Discrimination against Women in Saudi Arabia

TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A UN rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia on Monday to end discriminatory practices against women, including its pervasive system of male guardianship, and give them full access to justice.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urged the Saudi government to “abolish practices of male guardianship”.

It should enforce a recent order that would entitle all women to obtain a passport, travel or study abroad, choose their residency, and access health care “without having to seek their guardian’s consent”.

“We asked for the abolition of the system, because even though they said they had passed a law, we realized that in practice the system still continued,” Hilary Gbedemah, a panel member, told Reuters.

Despite recent decisions to allow women to have more freedom in the society, Saudi Arabia is still one of the most restrictive countries for women in the world. It has no women ministers and retains a guardianship system requiring women to have a male relative’s approval for important decisions.