A 19yearold girl is gang raped, then sentenced in court to receive 200 lashes and six months in jail. A 75yearold woman was sentenced to forty lashes for meeting with a man that was not her husband. Another woman was shot twice by her husband, but failed to file a complaint because her testimony wouldn’t be legal valid without his presence. She was later shot a third time and died. This is just an example of what women in living in Saudi Arabia can face a life lived without the benefit of some of the most basic human rights. Because of this dire situation, where women live in danger daily and are denied rights recognized as universal, it is imperative the United Nations work in conjunction with its member nations in an effort to improve women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
In Saudi Arabia, the closest ally of the United States in the Middle East, women are unable to study, work, travel, marry, testify in court, legalise a contract or undergo any medical treatment without the consent of a close male relative (“Our Women”). The consent of the mehram their male guardian is necessary to perform even the most basic of actions, including even stepping foot outside the home (Black). Saudi women are prohibited from driving an automobile by law, even with consent (Black). There are no written statutes mandating this guardianship, but in Saudi Arabia, Sharia law the religious law of Islam overrides all other rules, a practice developed from the ultraconservative Wahhabi interpretations of Muslim scripture (“Our Women”). The proponents of this extremist policy point to a passage in the Koran that states men are "protectors and keepers of women" (“Our Women”).
A recent report from Human Rights Watch, a New Yorkbased nongovernmental organization that conducts research on human rights, pointed to the guardianship requirement as the biggest obstacle to the rights of women in the kingdom (“Our Women”). Women, the...
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