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