King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia named Norah Al-Fayez to be the new Deputy Minister for Women's Education and replaced a number of high-ranking government officials last week. Al-Fayez is the first woman to be named to a ministerial post in the country. Advocate Wajeha al-Huwaider told CNN that "I think it's going to be the first step toward the reform that he promised," but that she is skeptical that Al-Fayez will have real power, in part because the country's guardianship system continues to paralyze women.
Al-Fayez said that her appointment "is an honor not only for me but for all Saudi women. In the presence of a comprehensive operational team, I believe I'll be able to face challenges and create positive change," according to the Guardian
Women's rights in Saudi Arabia are currently limited on a number of fronts including marriage rights, freedom to travel, property ownership, education, and work. According to Human Rights Watch, although some human rights laws have been introduced in Saudi Arabia, little implementation or enforcement of these laws has occurred. At a meeting earlier this month, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council urged Saudi Arabia to actively work to end pervasive human rights violations in the country, particularly those against women and children.
Media Resources: The Guardian 2/16/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/9/09; Human Rights Watch 2/4/09; CNN 2/15/09
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .