UN body calls on Saudis to end laws al­low­ing ex­e­cu­tion of chil­dren

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

GENEVA: A UN hu­man rights watch­dog has called on Saudi Ara­bia to end “se­vere” dis­crim­i­na­tion against girls and to re­peal laws it said al­lowed chil­dren to be ex­e­cuted by ston­ing or pun­ished with am­pu­ta­tions and flog­gings.

Yes­ter­day the Com­mit­tee on the Rights of the Child is­sued the con­clu­sions of its re­view of the king­dom’s record of com­pli­ance with the UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child. States which rat­ify the pact are re­viewed ev­ery few years.

Chil­dren over 15 are tried as adults in Saudi Ara­bia and can be ex­e­cuted “af­ter tri­als fall­ing short of guar­an­tees of due process and fair trial”, the re­port said. The UN con­ven­tion de­fines chil­dren as un­der 18.

“The pos­si­bil­ity of im­pos­ing the death penalty on chil­dren is still in place and that is a very se­ri­ous con­cern,” Jorge Car­dona, a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee, told a news brief­ing.

“But also the pos­si­bil­ity of sanc­tions and mis­treat­ment, in­clud­ing tor­ture, such as the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing flogged or other pun­ish­ments that are es­pe­cially harsh.”

Com­mit­tee chair Benyam Mez­mur said it had re­ceived con­sis­tent re­ports that the death penalty was ap­plied for of­fences com­mit­ted by un­der-18s.

“It’s a very se­ri­ous is­sue and there are only four or five coun­tries in the world that we en­gage with on this is­sue and un­for­tu­nately Saudi Ara­bia is ac­tu­ally one of them,” he said, nam­ing the oth­ers as Iran, Pak­istan, China and the Mal­dives.

The com­mit­tee also con­demned air strikes by the Saudi-led coali­tion in the war in Ye­men, which it said had killed hun­dreds of chil­dren. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.