UN de­mands Saudis stop child ex­e­cu­tions

The Myanmar Times - - World -

UN rights ex­perts have de­manded that Saudi Ara­bia im­me­di­ately over­turn laws al­low­ing for the ex­e­cu­tion of chil­dren and for pun­ish­ments of mi­nors in­clud­ing ston­ings, am­pu­ta­tions and flog­ging.

In a re­port on the plight of chil­dren in the Gulf state, a UN com­mit­tee took Riyadh to task for al­low­ing mi­nors to be sen­tenced as adults, in­clud­ing to harsh cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment and even the death penalty.

The United Na­tions Com­mit­tee on the Rights of the Child also crit­i­cised what it called Saudi Ara­bia’s sys­tem­atic dis­crim­i­na­tion against girls, who are not con­sid­ered full sub­jects, and who can be mar­ried off as early as nine years of age.

The com­mit­tee ex­pressed its “deep­est con­cern” that Saudi Ara­bia “tries chil­dren above 15 years as adults and con­tin­ues to sen­tence to death and to ex­e­cute per­sons for of­fences that they al­legedly com­mit­ted when they were un­der the age of 18”.

The com­mit­tee, which is com­posed of 18 in­de­pen­dent in­ter­na­tional ex­perts who mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child, pointed to a num­ber of cases where mi­nors had been sen­tenced to death.

It said that at least four of the 47 peo­ple ex­e­cuted on Jan­uary 2 this year were un­der 18 when they were sen­tenced to death.

And it de­manded that Riyadh “im­me­di­ately halt the ex­e­cu­tion” of those cur­rently on death row who al­legedly com­mit­ted their crimes when they were mi­nors, in­clud­ing Ali Mo­hammed Baqr al-Nimr, Ab­dul­lah Hasan al-Za­her and Sal­man Bin Ameen Bin Sal­man Al-Qureish.

Com­mit­tee chair Benyam Mez­mur told re­porters Saudi Ara­bia was only one of five coun­tries, along­side China, Iran, Pak­istan, and the Mal­dives, where child rights ex­perts had ever needed to raise con­cerns about ex­e­cu­tions.

“This is a very, very se­ri­ous is­sue,” he said.

The com­mit­tee also de­manded that Saudi Ara­bia im­me­di­ately re­peal laws per­mit­ting “the ston­ing, am­pu­ta­tion and flog­ging of chil­dren”. –

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