UN chief hails voting rights for Saudi womenSeptember 30th, 2011 - 9:17 am ICT by IANS
United Nations, Sep 30 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has hailed the decision to grant voting rights to women in Saudi Arabia.
“The secretary-general welcomes recent announcements by the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, including notably those granting women in Saudi Arabia, for the first time, the right to vote and stand in municipal elections — as well as to become members of the Shura Council,” Xinhua reported quoting a statement released by Ban’s spokesperson Thursday.
In Saudi Arabia, the Shura Council is the unelected advisory body which vets legislation but has no binding powers.
The secretary-general “believes that these represent an important step in the realization by women in Saudi Arabia of their fundamental civil and political rights,” said the statement.
Women in Saudi Arabia, in compliance with a strict version of Sunni Islam, have been banned from traveling or driving without the consent of a male relative. Rights activists have long been fighting for more rights for women.
King Abdullah announced his decision in his address to the Shura Council, saying the kingdom refuses to marginalize women in all walks of the society.
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