Saudi Arabia's ban on girls driving officially ends
Saudi ladies are officially permitted to get behind the wheel, following a decades-old driving ban was lifted.
The change was announced last September and Saudi Arabia issued the very first licences to females earlier this month.
It was the only country left in the world exactly where females could not drive and households had to employ private chauffeurs for female relatives.
Nevertheless, the move comes amid an intensified crackdown on activists who campaigned for the proper to drive.
At least eight women’s rights activists are being detained and could face trial in a counter-terrorism court and extended prison sentences for their activism, human rights group Amnesty says.
They incorporate Loujain al-Hathloul, a nicely-identified figure in the campaign for women’s driving rights.
Amnesty has also called for wider reforms in Saudi Arabia, where ladies remain topic to male guardianship laws.
Human rights groups in the kingdom have campaigned for years to enable ladies to drive.
Dozens of women have been arrested for driving in Riyadh in 1990 and some Saudi females started posting videos of themselves at the wheel in 2008, and among 2011 and 2014.
Thousands of girls could soon take to the roads.
“It is a historic moment for each and every Saudi lady,” Saudi tv presenter Sabika al-Dosari told the AFP news agency
She said she was behind the wheel minutes soon after the finish of the driving ban at midnight regional time (21:00 GMT Saturday).
“These days of waiting lengthy hours for a driver are over,” said pharmacy student Hatoun bin Dakhil, 21. “We no longer want a man.”
Mixed emotions on a landmark day
By the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Riyadh
In this conservative kingdom, it is a landmark day. For Saudi girls it has been a long time coming.
Now they are free to drive, but they are still not cost-free to travel, marry, divorce or even leave prison with out the permission of a male relative.
And as women hit the road, some of the leading activists – who fought hardest for this – are behind bars. They were arrested final month and are accused of treason.
A single Saudi human rights campaigner stated that lifting the driving ban although detaining these pioneering girls was shameful and heart-breaking.
The authorities here are keen to get maximum mileage from this reform, and have permitted foreign journalists in to report on it. But critics say the modifications taking spot here still amount to child measures.
On 5 June, 10 women became the very first female licence-holders following swapping their foreign licences for Saudi ones in cities across the country.
The Saudi authorities previously stated they expected about 2,000 women to have received licences by the time the ban was lifted.
Nevertheless some Saudi men have expressed their dissatisfaction with the modify, using an Arabic hashtag on social media that translates as “You will not drive”.
The lifting of the driving ban is component of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s programme to modernise some elements of Saudi society.
He has spearheaded the Vision 2030 programme to diversify the economy away from oil and open up Saudi society.
But there are nonetheless limits on what Saudi ladies can do.
Saudi law enforces a strict form of Sunni Islam identified as Wahhabism and is identified for its gender segregation rules.
Ladies have to adhere to strict dress codes, and should not associate with unrelated men. If they want to travel, operate or access healthcare, they must be accompanied by a male guardian or have their written permission.
Published at Sat, 23 Jun 2018 23:02:19 +0000